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State Senator Teresa P. Hughes

Author of Assembly Bill 3103, Statutes of 1982, Legislation That Established CARE

State Senator Teresa P Hughes

Dr. Teresa P. Hughes passed away on November 15, 2011.  Among her numerous accomplishments during a life in which she was a distinguished educator, an outstanding legislator who represented the Los Angeles area in both the California State Assembly and State Senate, an outspoken advocate for civil rights and social justice, and an exemplary role model for women and African Americans, Dr. Hughes will be remembered fondly by her EOPS/CARE family.


In 1982, then-Assemblywoman Hughes authored Assembly Bill 3103, which established the Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program in California’s community colleges.


CARE became the first statewide program of its kind in the nation to offer college opportunities and educational support to help welfare-dependent women and men transition from welfare-dependency to employment and eventual self-sufficiency. 


As envisioned by Dr. Hughes, the CARE program was to help “welfare recipients become convinced that they and their children are important, that they are capable, and that with proper support they can break the welfare dependency cycle through education and job training.”

Today there are 113 CARE programs in California. For over 30 years, more than 200,000 women and men have been assisted by CARE, many of whom are currently community college EOPS directors, CARE coordinators, EOPS/CARE counselors, program specialists, faculty, and higher education professionals who continue to motivate and encourage new students to courageously seek a better life for themselves and their children.


We will always fondly remember and appreciate Dr. Hughes for her devotion and leadership in empowering low income families. 


Born in New York City, Dr. Hughes earned a B.A. in Physiology and Public Health and completed her graduate work in Sociology at Hunter College.  She received her M.A. in Education Administration at New York University, and a Ph.D. in Education Administration at Claremont Graduate School.


Dr. Hughes served in the California State Senate from 1992 to 2000 after serving for seventeen years in the State Assembly.


She was appointed to the California Medical Assistance Commission by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton in January 2001.


She was also a former legislative and education consultant to the State Commission on Teacher Credentialing and Professor of Education at California State University, Los Angeles.


Among her many achievements were legislation that established:


  • Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program in 1982.

  • Hughes Earthquake Safety Act of 1987.

  • Hughes-Hart Education Reform Act of 1983.

  • Conflict Resolution and School Violence Reduction Program.

  • Public safety laws creating gang and drug prevention programs in public schools; increasing prison terms for gang-related drive-by shootings; and instituting a training program for prosecutors on gang-related crimes.

  • Health laws providing funding to research lupus and high blood pressure; protecting physicians from civil and criminal liabilities for informing the spouse of a patient of a positive test result for the AIDS antibodies; and adequate compensation for developmental disabilities work-activity programs.

  • Consumer interest laws for funds to construct or rehabilitate low and moderate income housing; addressing anti-redlining for home loans; and provision of adequate notices before a person loses their home due to foreclosure.

  • Creation of Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and California Museum of Afro-American History and Culture in Los Angeles and funding to reconstruct the California Museum of Science and Industry.


As testimony to her legislative leadership role, Senator Hughes was the first chairperson of the California Legislative Black Caucus and the California Women Legislators Caucus, and first woman and first Afro-American to serve on the Senate Rules Committee.


Senator Hughes was the founder of Aware Women, an active member of the California State Employees Association, California Teachers Association, Coalition of Labor Union Women, and Delta Sigma Theta.


She was on the Board of Directors for the local Coalition of One Hundred Black Women and the Black Agenda.


In November 1988, the Los Angeles Unified School District honored Dr. Hughes by dedicating and renaming an elementary school the “Teresa Hughes Elementary School” in the City of Cudahy.

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