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Santa Clara County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Joe Coto

Candidate for
Member of the State Assembly; District 23

This information is provided by the candidate

Assemblymember Joe Coto (D- San Jose) is currently serving his second term in the California Assembly. His agenda in the Legislature continues to focus on making California's schools the best in the nation. He is also striving to ensure that all of California's children have health insurance and are provided with the ability to experience the American dream. This dream includes going to college, securing a good paying job, and owning a home. A lifelong Democrat, Coto proudly represents the 23rd Assembly District in San Josť. The District includes the east side, downtown and the Monterey Road corridor. The 23rd District represents about half of the city of San Josť. Mr. Coto was elected Chair of the 26 member Latino Legislative Caucus in 2006. The Latino Caucus is seen as one of the most influential in the legislature. The Caucus' focus is primarily on improving the quality of life for working families in California. With over 35 % of the population in California being Latino, the issues affecting them, affect all Californians. The key legislative priorities identified by the Latino Caucus are: Education, Health, Housing, Economic Development and Leadership.

Assemblymember Coto was also appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly to serve as Chair of the Insurance Committee. In addition, he serves on the following committees: Education, Banking and Finance and Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media. Mr. Coto also chairs the Select Committee on Urban Education. Mr. Coto has had a number of bills chaptered into law. One of the most significant provides over $30 million to support English learners, other educational bills provide support to underachieving schools, standards for math instruction for blind students, and flexibility in spending to support the educational program. He also authored a bill to protect college students from vendors who try to entice students with gifts to get them to apply for credit cards. In the area of health, one of his bills provides cultural and linguistic training for physicians so that they can serve their patients more effectively and another extends the Healthy Families' program so that children throughout the state can be eligible for health insurance. Working in collaboration with the California Chamber of Commerce, as well as other employer groups, such as the California Federation of Labor, he authored legislation to fix part of the workers compensation system in a way that benefits both business and labor. Joe Coto began his career as a teacher in the Oakland Unified School District. There, he experienced first hand the influence of public policy on education. While he was in Oakland, Mr. Coto was elected as an Oakland City Councilmember and served in that capacity for four years. He returned to education and ultimately became the Superintendent of the Oakland schools. In 1988 he accepted the position of Superintendent of the East Side Union High School District in San Josť and served the East San Josť community for 14 years. Mr. Coto has a lifetime commitment to the advancement of all students and their families. In recognition of his contributions as superintendent of the East Side Union High School District and beyond, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) named him the 2003 'Superintendent of the Year'. During his tenure as Superintendent, Mr. Coto used his leadership and experience to craft policies that reached beyond the East Side Union High School District. Coto organized the East Side Consortium of school districts which led to the approval of SB 1051, the Voluntary Integration Program. Since its inception, the program has brought over $100 million for participating districts and contributed to increased diversity and integration in East San Jose schools. During his tenure in the East Side Union High School District, Mr. Coto was able to bring nearly half a billion dollars in grant monies and improvement bonds to East San Josť. In addition to his commitment to excellence in education, Mr. Coto has continued to serve the community by serving as Chair of the Mexican Plaza Cultural Arts Center in San Josť and as President of the Latino Democratic Forum. He has served on the boards of Joint Venture Silicon Valley and the Lucille Packard Children's Hospital. A healthy community is one that builds on the strengths of all its residents. Joe Coto has demonstrated through a life of service and commitment, that he will empower and defend the people to maintain the building blocks of a strong and healthy community: jobs, quality education and affordable housing. Joe and his wife, Camille, have been married for 39 years and have 2 daughters.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: September 16, 2008 19:23
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