Debra Lynn Bowen (born October 27, 1955), a member of the Democratic Party, has been Secretary of State of California since January 8, 2007. Before that she was a member of the California State Legislature from 1992 to 2006. In March 2008, she was given the Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Bowen is unable to run for a third term in 2014 due to term limits.
Bowen was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois, where she graduated from Guilford High School in 1973. She received her bachelor's degree in 1976 from Michigan State University, and her Juris Doctor in 1979 from the University of Virginia School of Law. In 1984, she started her own California law firm.
Bowen began her career in politics on the Neighborhood Watch and Heal the Bay. . Her first elected office was to the California State Assembly, where she represented the 53rd Assembly District in the South Bay area from 1992 to 1998. Bowen was first elected to the California State Senate, representing the 28th State Senate District, in 1998. Her district included all or portions of the cities of Carson, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Venice, and Wilmington. Bowen chaired the California Senate's Committee on Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments. She also sat on the Energy, Utilities & Communications and Rules committees. Due to term limits, her service in the Senate ended in December 2006.