Barbara Levy Boxer (born November 11, 1940) is a retired American politician who served as a United States senator for California from 1993 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1993.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Boxer graduated from George Wingate High School and Brooklyn College. She worked as a stockbroker for several years before moving to California with her husband. During the 1970s, she worked as a journalist for the Pacific Sun and as an aide to U.S. Representative John L. Burton. She served on the Marin County Board of Supervisors for six years and became the board’s first female president. With the slogan “Barbara Boxer Gives a Damn”, she was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1982, representing California District 6. She served on the House Armed Services Committee, and was involved in government oversight, passing several procurement reforms.
Boxer won the 1992 election for the U.S. Senate. Running for a third term in 2004, she received 6.96 million votes and set a record for the most votes in any U.S. Senate election in history, until her colleague, Dianne Feinstein, the senior senator from California, surpassed that number in her 2012 re-election. Boxer and Feinstein were the first female pair of U.S. Senators representing any state at the same time. Boxer was the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and the vice chair of the Select Committee on Ethics. She was also the Democratic Chief Deputy Whip. Although generally identified with the San Francisco Bay Area, where her political career began, Boxer now lives in the Coachella Valley.
At the time of her retirement, Boxer ranked eleventh in seniority in the United States Senate, and was the most senior junior Senator from the retirement of Tom Harkin in January 2015 until her own retirement two years later. She was also dean of the California Congressional Delegation, since she had spent 10 years as a US Representative for California’s 6th district before being elected to the Senate in 1993.
On January 8, 2015, Boxer announced that she would not seek re-election in 2016. She was succeeded by former California Attorney General Kamala Harris.