State Senator Jenny Oropeza, whose district includes much of the Argonaut readership area south of Santa Monica, has been named by a national business publication to a list of the 100 most influential Latinos in the nation.

“It hasn’t always been easy (to make this list), but these are the leaders who, through the force of their personality and their actions, have shown us that it can be done,” the editors of Hispanic Business Magazine wrote in their latest issue, released September 25th. “It is becoming increasingly apparent that California, and Los Angeles in particular, has emerged as the center of U.S. Hispanic economic and political clout.”

Oropeza recently celebrated 20 years in elected public office. She is head of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee and a former Assembly Budget Committee chair.

The magazine cited her for her “community friendly business policies,” election reform measures and legislation aimed at protecting the environment, transportation funding and expanded cancer prevention.

This year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed three of her bills into law, all of which had received support from Republicans and Democrats, law enforcement and public-safety groups statewide.

One of the laws established the state’s first regulations for massage therapists, another cracked down on extreme drunken drivers and a third decriminalized the placement on windshields by motorists of global positioning systems.

She was also joint author of a new law that will allow homebuyers whose lenders agree to forgive some or all of their mortgage debt to not have to pay state taxes on the forgiven debt, and in August she won an 11th-hour fight to ensure that funding for a 1.5-mile extension of the Green Line light-rail system to Los Angeles International Airport would be included in a measure to go before the voters.

After surviving a nearly two-year battle with liver cancer in 2004-05, Oropeza, 51, pushed various bills to fight pollution, unnecessary X-rays and exposure to diesel exhaust.

Oropeza is among 40 Angelenos on the Hispanic Business Magazine list.

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