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Ira Ruskin (born November 12, 1943) is a Democratic Californiamarker State Assemblyman and former Redwood City, Californiamarker Council member. He represents the 21st Assembly District, which includes Redwood City, Athertonmarker, Menlo Parkmarker, Palo Altomarker, Los Altosmarker, Los Gatosmarker, Los Altos Hillsmarker and the Almaden Valleymarker neighborhood of San Josemarker.


Ira and his wife Cheryl (a licensed landscape designer) reside in Redwood Citymarker, California. They have no children.


Political career

From 1995 to 2004, Ruskin was a member of the Redwood City Council. For three of those years (1999 - 2001) he was the Mayor of Redwood Citymarker.

In 2004, Ruskin was elected to the California Assembly. He defeated Republican Steve Poizner. The Assembly race was an uphill battle as Ruskin had local government experience but initially lacked major campaign funding. The Assembly race heated up when Poizner donated $6 million to his campaign. Ruskin began a major fundraising and grassroots effort, which attracted attention from around Californiamarker. With the assistance of several of California's public employee unions and massive grassroots support from people throughout the community, Ruskin was able to win the race[87225].

In November 2006 Ruskin was re-elected to the California State Assembly by a wide margin of 75,388 votes, 67.4% to his challenger Virginia Chang Kiraly (Rep) 36,628 votes, 32.6% [87226]. He was re-elected to his third Assembly term in 2008.

Term limits in California prevent Ruskin from running for reelection in 2010. Ruskin plans to run for a State Senate seat in 2012[87227].

Ruskin has served on the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (as Chair), the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Water System Financing Authority, the CalFED ABAG Task Force (as Chair), the Water Management Subcommittee, the Organization of Chinese Americans, the San Mateo County Advisory Board, the Redwood City Education Foundation, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, San Mateo County Criminal Justice Council, the San Mateo County Joint Powers Authority (for emergency medical response), and the San Mateo County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Advisory Board.


Ruskin was the recipient of the first-ever award from DAWN (a Democratic feminist organization) to a man for "excellent work performed on behalf of freedom and equality for women." He helped bring attention to the plight of the Bosnianmarker Muslim women in a public forum which included the live transatlantic interview of rape camp survivors. Ruskin became involved in public policy and politics after working on rape as a genocidal weapon in Bosniamarker.

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