Senator Holly J. Mitchell biography

Senator Holly J. MitchellA 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 and 2018 when she oversaw the adoption of consecutive state budgets of nearly $200 billion each and won wide praise for directing funds to elementary and college students, the health-care systems and long-neglected programs to assist infants, the elderly, youth and working families.

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. In January 2018, she was named as vice chair of the Joint Committee on Rules Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response.

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. She also served as Faculty in Residence at Rutgers University in 1997, and has served as Legislator in Residence at Mount St. Mary’s University since 2016.

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.