Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Richard Polanco Papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • California State Assembly, 1986-1994
  • California State Senate, 1995-2002
  • Scope and Content
  • Accruals
  • Related Materials
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Richard Polanco Papers
    Dates: 1986-2002
    Collection number: LP441
    Creator: Richard Polanco, California Legislator
    Collection Size: 45 cubic feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: Richard Polanco, Democrat, served in the California Legislature from 1986 to 2002. The Richard Polanco Papers consist of 45 cubic feet of textual records and audiovisual materials and cover the years 1986-2002. The records are organized into 16 record series.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Administrative Information


    While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Richard Polanco Papers, LP441:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition and Custodial History

    The California State Archives acquired the Richard Polanco Papers following his final term in the State Legislature.


    Richard Polanco, Democrat, served in the California Legislature from 1986 to 2002. He was first elected to the California State Assembly, replacing Assembly Member Richard Alatorre, through a special election on June 5, 1986. He represented the 55th Assembly District (Northeastern Los Angeles and part of Pasadena) in the 1980s, and after redistricting in 1991 he served the 45th Assembly District, which included East Los Angeles, until 1994. In 1994, Polanco was elected to the California State Senate to represent the 22nd Senate District, which included the cities of Alhambra, Maywood, San Marino, South Pasadena, Vernon, Walnut Park, and parts of Florence-Graham, Los Angeles, and East Los Angeles. Polanco served in this position until 2002.
    Richard Polanco was born March 4, 1951, in Los Angeles, California. A native Angeleno, Polanco graduated from James A. Garfield High School and East Los Angeles College before attending the University of Redlands and the Universidad de Mexico, majoring in Business Administration. Prior to his election to the legislature in 1986, Polanco was active in both state and local politics. At a community level, Polanco helped found the Arroyo Vista Family Health Center in Highland Park, which offers medical services on a sliding scale for low-income patients, in addition to his work with organizations such as Para Los Ninos, a daycare center for Skid Row youth, and the Mujeres Recovery Home, which works with alcoholic Latinas. At the state level, Polanco served as a special assistant to Governor Jerry Brown during his first term in office and as Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Richard Alatorre.
    As a State Legislator, Polanco's legislative interests were varied, ranging from water desalination programs to transnational economic partnerships to the research and treatment of various mental illnesses. He also authored numerous bills related to Medicare expansion, prison reform, and insurance regulation. Over the span of his time in the legislature, Polanco consistently advocated for Latino interests, including formally recognizing and granting an annual holiday in honor of agricultural activist, Cesar Chavez. Under his tenure as chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus, he oversaw a notable increase in the number of Latino members in the state legislature.
    During his term in the California Legislature, Polanco served on the following committees according to the California Legislature at Sacramento (Handbooks), Assembly Final History, and Pocket Directory of the California Legislature.

    California State Assembly, 1986-1994

    • Standing Committees
    • Agriculture, 1993-1994
    • Banking, Finance, and Bonded Indebtedness, 1991-1992
    • Government Organization, 1989-1992
    • Health, 1987-1994
    • Housing and Community Development, 1987-1988
    • Labor and Employment, 1987-1988
    • Rules, 1988-1994
    • Transportation, 1987-1988
    • Utilities and Commerce, 1987-1994
    • Ways and Means, 1988-1994
    • Subcommittees
    • Agricultural Education, 1994
    • International Trade and Business Development, 1992-1994
    • Chair, 1992-1994
    • Mental Health, 1987-1988
    • Chair, 1987-1988
    • Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, 1989-1991
    • Chair, 1989-1991
    • Minority Health Affairs, 1992
    • Rule Changes, 1990-1991
    • Ways and Means #3: Resources, Agriculture, and the Environment, 1989-1992
    • Ways and Means #4: State Administration, 1991-1994
    • Chair, 1993-1994
    • Ways and Means #6: Transportation, 1989-1990
    • Select Committees
    • California-Mexico Affairs, 1989-1994
    • Chair, 1989-1994
    • Equal Opportunity, 1993-1994
    • Neighborhood Violence and Mediation, 1988
    • Office of Support of Public Education, 1993
    • State Public Procurement Practices, 1989-1994
    • Chair, 1989-1994
    • Statewide Immigration Impact, 1994
    • Support of Public Instruction, 1994
    • Youth and Drug Abuse Prevention, 1988
    • Joint Committees
    • Mental Health Research, 1990-1992
    • Chair, 1990-1992
    • Rules, 1988-1994
    • International Trade, 1990
    • Special Committees
    • Policy Research Management, 1989-1992

    California State Senate, 1995-2002

    • Standing Committees
    • Appropriations, 1995-1996
    • Banking, Commerce, and International Trade, 2001-2002
    • Chair, 2002
    • Budget and Fiscal Review, 1997-2002
    • Business and Professions, 1995-2002
    • Chair, 1995-1998
    • Criminal Procedure, 1995-1997
    • Elections and Reapportionment, 1995-2000, 2002
    • Chair, 1995-1996
    • Finance, Investment, and International Trade, 1995-2000
    • Health and Human Services, 1995-2002
    • Labor and Industrial Relations, 2001-2002
    • Local Government, 1998-2000
    • Public Safety, 1998-2002
    • Transportation, 1995-2000
    • Subcommittees
    • Americas, 1995-2000
    • Chair, 1995-2000
    • Bioethics, 1995-1996
    • Budget and Fiscal Review #4: Legislative, Executive, Public Safety, and General Government, 1997-2000, 2002
    • Chair, 1999-2000, 2002
    • Crimes against Children, 1995-1997
    • Chair, 1995-1997
    • California-European Trade Development, 1998
    • Mental Health and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 2000-2002
    • Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Genetic Diseases, 1995-1998
    • Prison Construction, 1995-1996
    • Prison Construction and Operations, 1997
    • Chair, 1997
    • Professional and Vocational Standards, 1998
    • Chair, 1998
    • Sports and Professional Sports Teams, 1998
    • Trans Alameda Corridor, 2000
    • Select Committees
    • Alameda Corridor, 1998
    • California's Role in the World Trade Organization, 2001
    • California's Wine Industry, 1998-2002
    • College and University Admissions and Outreach, 2001-2002
    • Economic Development, 1998, 2000-2002
    • Expenditures and Information Technology, 1998
    • Higher Education, 1997-2000
    • Higher Education Admissions and Outreach, 1998-2000
    • International Trade Policy and State Legislation, 2002
    • Northridge Earthquake, 1995-1996
    • Oversight of the Department of Energy Laboratories Operated by the University of California, 2002
    • Chair, 2002
    • Procurement, 1998
    • Southern California Water Districts' Expenditures and Governance, 1999-2000
    • Joint Committees
    • Arts, 1998-2002
    • Legislative Budget, 1998-2002
    • Legislative Sunset Review, 1998-2002
    • Prison Construction and Operations, 1998-2002
    • Chair, 1998-2002
    • School Facilities, 1997-1999
    In addition to his many committee appointments, Richard Polanco served as Latino Legislative Caucus Chair from 1990-2002, and Senate Majority Leader from 1998-2002.

    Scope and Content

    The Richard Polanco Papers consist of 45 cubic feet of textual records and audio/visual materials and cover the years 1986-2002. The records are organized into 16 record series: Bill Files, 1987-2002; Subject Files, 1986-2002; Correspondence, 1986-2002; Hearing Files, 1989-1997; Reports, 1989-1999; Public Procurement Advisory Committee Files, 1986-1991; Assembly Health Committee Files, 1988-1992; Assembly Mental Health Subcommittee Files, 1980-1989; Joint Mental Health Research Committee Files, 1986-1991; Assembly Economic Development and New Technologies Committee Files, 1985-1990; Assembly California-Mexico Affairs Select Committee Files, 1987-1990; Latino Legislative Caucus Files, 1991-2000; Assembly International Trade and Business Development Subcommittee Files, 1991-1992; Prisoner Correspondence, 1990-2000; Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee #4 Files, 2001; and Corcoran State Prison Hearing Files, 1997-1998.
    The Bill Files are the bulk of his collection and a strong source of information about his legislative interests. These documents demonstrate Polanco's activism for local Los Angeles issues as well as matters concerning the State of California as a whole. Within this series, reoccurring topics include: issues pertaining to Latinos and other immigrants (SB938, 1997-1998; SB804 and SB1974, 2001-2002); healthcare (AB4532, 1987-1988; AB2424, 1989-1990; SB777, 1995-1996; and SB694, SB1181, SB1256, and SB2050, 1997-1998); international trade (AB2602, AB2852, and AJR99, 1989-1990; and AB3051, 1991-1992); prison reform (SB617, 1995-1996; SB1132, 1997-1998; SB404 and SB574, 2001-2002); and insurance/money lender regulation (AB230, 1987-1988; AB1461, 1989-1990; and SB1325, 1995-1996).
    Additionally reflective of his tenure with the California State Legislature, Polanco's various committee files also add insight into his numerous activities as a legislator. As the records creator, Richard Polanco grouped the files from his committee assignments together, and this order has thus been retained. The bulk of Polanco's various committee series stem from his term in the Assembly, 1986-1994; the exceptions being the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee #4 Files, the Latino Legislative Caucus Files, Prisoner Correspondence Files, and the Corcoran State Prison Hearing Files.


    No further accruals are expected.

    Related Materials

    Assembly Economic Development and New Technologies Committee
    Assembly Health Committee
    Sam Farr Papers
    Public Procurement Advisory Committee

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Polanco, Richard G.
    California. Legislature. Assembly
    California Latino Legislative Caucus