NOTE: Below are two biographies for Senator Holly J. Mitchell. The first one is appropriate for introductions or events or programs where there is limited space. The second is a more comprehensive overview of Mitchell and her career.

Senator Holly J. Mitchell; an introduction

From children's advocate to "Moral conscience of the Senate" (LA Times, Feb. 28, 2017) Senator Holly J. Mitchell has spent her career fighting poverty and creating a California in which ALL children thrive.

Since 2010, she has authored dozens of landmark laws. These include: ending policies that drove families deeper into poverty; limiting unfair seizures of personal assets; decriminalizing prostitution for child victims of sex trafficking, and substantive reforms to the juvenile justice system.

During her first year as chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Mitchell in 2017 oversaw the state's $183 billion investment in California's future and has been recognized as Legislator of the Year or honored by more than 100 groups statewide. A member of the Senate leadership team, she serves nearly 1 million residents in the 30th Senate District.


Senator Holly J. Mitchell biography

A third-generation native Angeleno, Senator Holly J. Mitchell is the proud daughter of career public servants and the protégé of community leaders who instilled in her a passion for service. She continued her family legacy of “firsts” when she was named the first African American to chair the powerful Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee in December 2016. Less than two months later, a profile in The Los Angeles Times described Mitchell as “the moral compass of the Senate.”

She proved to be just that in 2017 when she oversaw the adoption of a $183 billion state budget that won wide praise for directing funds to elementary and college students, the health-care systems and long-neglected programs to assist the elderly and youth.

Advocate for children
Mitchell, the mother of a teen-age son, has devoted her professional life to creating a California where all children thrive. She has led the charge to reform the criminal and juvenile justice systems, expand access to healthcare, early care and education, foster care, secure women’s reproductive health and end the trafficking of minors. She is a passionate defender of women’s rights and the environment.

Fighting for #EquityAndJustice
In addition to fighting for a budget that better serves the more vulnerable among us, Mitchell and Senator Ricardo Lara jointly authored a package of criminal justice reforms that place a greater emphasis on prevention, rehabilitation and maintaining family cohesion. By the end of 2017, six of the measures were signed into law.

A history of caring
Mitchell previously headed California’s largest child and family development organization, Crystal Stairs, and worked for the Western Center for Law and Poverty. This gave her valuable insights in how to improve services to diverse communities whose needs were not being addressed by state or local governments. 

With nearly 60 bills signed into law, Mitchell’s other groundbreaking successes include improving human services, expanding access to healthcare, defending the civil rights of minorities and the undocumented, and reducing the numbers of children growing up in poverty.

Mitchell sits on the Senate Health Committee; the Joint Committee on Rules; the Public Safety Committee; the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee; and the Insurance, Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. She also chairs the Senate Select Committee on Women and Inequality, which she founded.

Mitchell has been cited for her outstanding leadership by nearly two dozen community and business groups, including the Courage Campaign, Sierra Club, United Cerebral Palsy Association and the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce. She was named the 2017 Lois DeBerry Scholar by Women in Government Leadership and this year received the first Willie L. Brown Jr. Advocacy Award from the California Black Lawyers Association. The National Conference of State Legislatures last summer elected her to its national Executive Committee. Her advocacy on behalf of the expansion of mental health services earned her the Legislator-of-the-Year Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness California.

First elected to the Legislature in 2010, Mitchell represents nearly 1 million residents of the 30th Senate District, which ranges from Century City to South Los Angeles and takes in Culver City, Cheviot Hills, Crenshaw District, USC, downtown L.A. and a portion of Inglewood. For more information, visit Sen. Mitchell’s Web site HERE or at

- Last updated January 2018.