Board of Equalization Chair Fiona Ma to Receive 2016 Woman of the Year Award at SF Annual Reception

Emerge California will celebrate its record-breaking election year at the San Francisco Annual Reception on Wednesday, June 1. Seventy-five Emerge CA alumnae have announced their candidacies in 2016, making it the largest number of alumnae to run in a single year in the organization’s 14-year history. Former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. will address attendees, and Board of Equalization Chair Fiona Ma will receive Emerge CA’s 2016 Woman of the Year Award.

Willie Brown served over 30 years in the California State Assembly, spending 15 years as its speaker, and later was elected Mayor of San Francisco in 1995. Throughout his career, Brown supported and advanced women in politics.

“When serving as speaker of the Assembly, I instantly recognized there was a difference by all of us–political parties, political and leadership types–in extending equal opportunity and equal support to women,” said Brown. “We set about to try and recruit candidates everywhere there was an opportunity. We wanted it to be a woman, long before people started talking about the year of the woman.”

Emerge CA honors an exemplary woman in politics every year, and Fiona Ma is the 2016 honoree. Prior to serving on the Board of Equalization, Ma was Speaker Pro Tempore of the State Assembly and SF Board Supervisor. As supervisor, she targeted human trafficking and worked to close massage parlors engaged in trafficking. While on the Board of Supervisors, Ma began her advocacy regarding banning toxins from children's toys. After being elected to the Assembly, Ma continued her work around toxic children's toys and authored legislation that was signed into state law. The law was later incorporated into federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 signed by President George W Bush.  

“Fiona Ma sets the standard for women leaders in our state,” said Emerge California Executive Director Kimberly Ellis. “She has served constituents across all levels of government, from local to county to statewide. While doing so, she has tackled critical issues such as human trafficking and protecting children from environmental hazards.”

Who:      Emerge California with Willie L. Brown, Jr.

What:     Emerge California’s San Francisco Annual Reception

When:    Wednesday, June 1, 5:30-8:00 PM

Where:   The City Club of San Francisco, 155 Sansome St, 10th Fl.

Since its founding, Emerge California has recruited and trained nearly 400 women. Fifty percent of those women have run for public office or been appointed to local and statewide boards or commissions. Of those who have run, nearly 70% have won their races. In addition, 50% of Emerge graduates are women of color.

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