Former Assemblyman Firebaugh dies at 39

first_img It allows students who attend at least three years of high school in California to qualify for the same in-state fee break given California citizens, regardless of their immigration status. The lower in-state fees can save students thousands of dollars a year. Firebaugh also wrote legislation to provide money for low-income communities most affected by air pollution. He unsuccessfully tried to make California the first state to outlaw smoking in vehicles carrying young children. The measure, which fell four votes short of passing the Assembly in 2004, would have made it an infraction to smoke in a motor vehicle carrying a child who was under age 6 or weighed less than 60 pounds. Supporters said the bill would have protected young children against health hazards created by breathing secondhand smoke. “Marco never backed down from a tough fight for what was right,” state Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, said in a statement. “He stood up for immigrants and working families, and courageously took the lead on social justice issues when many others remained silent.” This year, Firebaugh was running for the Democratic nomination in the 30th Senate District, which covers part of southeastern Los Angeles County. Also on the June 6 ballot are assemblymen Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, and Rudy Bermudez, D-Norwalk. The incumbent, Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Norwalk, is termed out. Firebaugh missed the end of the 2003 legislative session while battling a serious liver problem. At the time, he said the unspecified ailment required “intensive treatment” but he expected to recover. Firebaugh was born Oct. 13, 1966, in Tijuana, Mexico. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Berkeley, and a law degree from UCLA. He is survived by two children, Ariana and Nicolas. Firebaugh was president of MAF Strategic Consulting Inc., a public affairs firm in Los Angeles. He also was a visiting professor and a fellow at the UCLA School of Medicine, Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture. Last summer, officials dedicated the Marco Antonio Firebaugh High School in Lynwood. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 “So young and so talented,” Polanco said in a telephone interview. The two became acquainted when Firebaugh was a student at the University of California at Berkeley, and served as an intern in Polanco’s Sacramento office. Firebaugh served in the Assembly from 1998 to 2004, representing a district in southeast Los Angeles County, and was majority floor leader during the last two years of his term. He also led the California Latino Legislative Caucus. “This is a moment of profound sadness and grief for all of us who liked and respected Marco Firebaugh, cared for his life work, cherished his charm and charisma, enjoyed his love of life and admired his leadership in the Legislature,” Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuez, D-Los Angeles, said in a statement. Among Firebaugh’s most significant accomplishments was writing a 2002 law that allowed some illegal immigrants to attend California universities while paying in-state fees. That law was challenged last December by a group of out-of-state college students who filed a class-action lawsuit claiming it was discriminatory. Former Democratic state Assemblyman Marco Antonio Firebaugh, a native of Mexico who wrote legislation making it more affordable for immigrants to attend California universities, died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. He was 39. Doctors attributed the death to influenza and liver failure, according to a statement from his campaign office. Firebaugh was running for a state Senate seat. He died at 7:15 a.m. at the UCLA Medical Center with family and close friends at his side, former state Sen. Richard Polanco said. Polanco, who as at the hospital when Firebaugh died, praised the former assemblyman for his compassion and his commitment to improving life for working-class families. He said Firebaugh was born in Tijuana and grew up poor while being raised by a single mother. last_img read more