In the shadow of Wisconsin's historic recall election last Tuesday, Californians turned out in record lows to vote in the state's first open primary where the top two winners in each race -- regardless of party affiliation -- would secure the nomination. As California continues to stumble around in darkness and disarray due to so many changes in redistricting, things may start to become more interesting in the race for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by three-term incumbent Dianne Feinstein.
I mentioned in another diary the strange array of choices when a mere twenty-three names appeared on the ballot to try to win a chance to face off against Senator Feinstein in November. The winner -- Republican Elizabeth Emken -- just may bring a spark of hope to the race given the anti-incumbent sentiment that is starting to spread throughout the once Golden State.
Emken's website paints a portrait of a strong conservative who has been able to secure endorsements from an array of conservatives including the founder of one of California's largest Tea Party organizations -- Dr. Bridget Melson -- as well as the NRA who gave Emken a score of AQ -- the highest rating given to non-legislative supporters of gun rights advocates. She also won endorsements from the California Republican Party and an array of Congressmen and State Senators and Assemblymen.
I will briefly highlight her background as written on her bio at www.emken2012.com. I have listened to several interviews and am really starting to like her boldness. Maybe she will be California's Palin with the savvy to come out of nowhere and unseat a tired, fairly predictable and useless Senator who should retire on her own but, instead, will have to be pushed out by someone who clearly brings fresh blood to the race.
The following is copied from her bio:
Before becoming active with the autism issue, Elizabeth served in management, financial analysis, and corporate operations at IBM. As an efficiency and cost cutting expert, Elizabeth utilized activity-based cost analyses to identify administrative savings across IBM U.S. – helping streamline operations, eliminate waste, and save the company millions of dollars.
Elizabeth graduated from UCLA in 1984 with degrees in Economics and Political Science. Her studies included course work at Cambridge University, where she focused on political and economic issues in China and the Middle East.
Elizabeth began helping families of children with autism, like her son Alex, more than a decade ago when she learned how little was being done to help individuals and families with disabilities. Elizabeth became a citizen-advocate, and as a Board Member, handled legislative advocacy for Cure Autism Now. She coordinated advocacy for the first major piece of federal legislation addressing autism, the Advancement in Pediatric Autism Research Act, ultimately becoming the lead title of the Children’s Health Act of 2000, which authorized programs totaling more than $200 million over 5 years at the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and Health and Resources and Services Administration.
A vital element of this accomplishment, Elizabeth led the charge to ensure transparency and accountability on how the NIH would spend autism research dollars. For the first time at the NIH, her efforts produced a portfolio analysis of autism spending that would have to withstand public scrutiny – a policy Elizabeth believes should apply throughout the entire government.