State Senator Ted Lieu was sworn into office on March 5 in the ballroom of the Loker Student Union (LSU) at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Sen. Lieu was elected on Feb. 15 in a special election following the death of Sen. Jenny Oropeza. He was officially sworn in on Feb. 18 in Sacramento.
Lieu represents the 28th District, which is comprised of the cities of Carson, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Lennox and Marina Del Ray, and unincorporated communities of Los Angeles. Greg Saks, vice president of University Advancement, welcomed a full LSU audience on behalf of President Mildred García, stating the significance of hosting Sen. Lieu’s public entrance into office at “the university of the South Bay.”
“Our university has about 80,000 alumni and 65 percent of those live within 25 miles of our campus,” said Saks. “When you add our students, staff, and faculty, our impact on this region is impressive. We are the customers, employees, business owners, taxpayers, and voters of the South Bay and our region. So it is very important that this ceremony be on our campus.”
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster presided over the ceremony, introducing keynote speakers Assemblymembers Warren Furutani and Bonnie Lowenthal, State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, State Controller John Chiang, and Dr. Wanda Austin, CEO of The Aerospace Corporation. Acapella renditions of the National Anthem and “America the Beautiful” were performed by Los Angeles Police Department Officer Rosalind Curry. The Pledge of Allegiance was executed by Lucia Diaz, CEO, Mar Vista Family Center, with the participation of the Torrance Firefighters Color Guard and the Nicholson Pipe and Drum Band of Westminster, Calif. A special presentation was also made by Dr. Mitch Maki, acting associate vice president of Academic Programs, who presented the senator with a copy of the university’s 50th Anniversary Banner.
Jerome Horton, vice chair of the California Board of Equalization and CSU Dominguez Hills alumnus (Class of ’79, B.S. business administration), administered the oath of office for Lieu. He was assisted by the senator’s oldest son, Brennan, who held the Bible as his mother and Lieu’s wife of nearly 10 years, Betty, looked on.
One of several humorous moments in the swearing-in celebration occurred when Horton, asking Lieu to repeat that he take the obligations of the office freely, slipped the words, “… with Betty’s permission” into the oath. Later, as Lieu greeted and thanked his constituents, he noted that he had learned two things after nearly a decade of marriage – to never embarrass his wife in public and that he could never give her too many flowers. He then presented Betty Lieu with two dozen roses that he quipped were not paid for with taxpayer funds.
In his congratulatory remarks, Assemblymember Furutani underscored Lieu’s reputation of integrity and commitment to his constituency.
“As elected officials, no matter what the situation may be, you call on one fundamental thing during your darkest hour,” said Furutani. “When we push that red or green button on the legislative floor, when decisions are made, we realize that we’re dealing with people’s lives, our communities… our future. When you’re not quite sure what to do, you rely on one single thing, which is the core of Ted Lieu, and that’s integrity.”
In his speech, “Moving California Forward,” Sen. Lieu highlighted his plan to bring the state out of its economic difficulties. He underscored the important of focusing on industries where California is a leader in national and international markets, such as aerospace, green technology, winemaking, entertainment, and tourism.
“We’re going to be in those industries and economic sectors where we have a competitive edge, things that we can do better than other countries and other states,” said Lieu. “The 28th Senate District is an amazing microcosm of how we can succeed in the future. The people in this district and the businesses here make a vital contribution to our economy.”
The new senator said that the reason he chose to celebrate his oath of office at CSU Dominguez Hills was because “this place represents the future of California.”
“This is one of the most diverse universities and student bodies west of the Mississippi,” said Lieu. “It offers an amazing array of degrees and courses from nursing, to computer science, to biochemistry. The students here are the future of California, and the future looks strong.”