Anthony J. Portantino
- I came to California from New Jersey to work in film and TV. As a legislator, I have been a staunch supporter of keeping filmed entertainment in California. As far back as 2005, I ran on creating a California tax credit program and continued to support every subsequent version thereafter. I once told Governor Brown that I would withhold my vote on the state budget unless it included the extension of the first program. I am the only legislator who has actually pushed a dolly.
- When the 3.0 film tax credit program was underfunded, I added $180 million to cover the shortfall and I created a new $150 million credit to help facilitate new studio construction. NBC Universal is the first company to have made use of the new program and is constructing new stages on the Universal City lot. Governor Newsom included the extension of the credit in his January budget in fulfillment of a commitment I directly negotiated last year. In the aftermath of the tragic Rust shooting, I didn’t seek attention or press, focusing instead on creating the framework for a deal to be negotiated between the entertainment labor coalition and the studios. My efforts proved fruitful.
- I have been one of the most staunch supporters of public education in the legislature. I have fought for increases in funding for K-12 districts which has included significant increases to per-pupil expenditures and special education. I have increased Cal Grants for foster students at community colleges and all students in need at private nonprofit colleges and universities in California.
- A leader in supporting mental and behavioral health education and services in California, I have moved school start time back, placed the suicide hotline number on student ids and mandated that mental health curriculum be taught in schools. I also changed the education code to make behavioral health treated equally with physical health.
- I have been a leader in the gun safety debate. I successfully authored California’s ban on the open carry of handguns on Main Street, raised the firearm purchase age to 21, closed the loophole that put a gun in the hands of the Poway shooter, authored California’s safe gun storage law and mandated that credible threats on campuses are properly investigated.
- I am a longtime supporter of live theater and I worked with Actors Equity and the Theatre Producers Guild on a grant program to support non-profit community theater. Both Equity and TPG have endorsed my campaign for congress. I am the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and Teamsters Joint Council 42 endorsed candidate to succeed Adam Schiff. In addition, I created a program that is helping to modernize large performing venues in California including the Hollywood Bowl, the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum.
- I have a long and respected record on LGBT+ issues and HIV/AIDS advocacy. I have held ten HIV/AIDS summits at City of Hope and authored several important bills that have streamed lined HIV testing in California. My late brother Michael owned and published the Gay and Lesbian Times newspaper and was a staunch LGBTQ+ advocate and leader. I work every day to uphold my brother’s legacy and am proud to have been called “the most gay friendly straight politician in California.” It was Michael’s suicide that led me to join the fight to destigmatize mental health and where I have drawn much of my passion for behavioral health causes.
- I am known as a community-oriented representative. Whether it’s the PTA, Kiwanis and other nonprofits, I support and engage my district like no other political leader. I have received PTA Honorary Service Awards by four different school district PTAs, received the Ellis Island Award and numerous recognitions from over 50 advocacy organizations in California.
- I set up California’s Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program that has resulted in lifesaving transplants for many Californians facing Leukemia. I was the first legislator in the Country to have been recognized by the National Bone Marrow Registry.
- I have been named Legislator of the Year twice by the Armenian National Committee of America. I have been to Armenia and Artsakh four times.
- I have been on international delegations to Japan, Armenian, Korea and Israel. I have met with heads of state and numerous high-ranking government officials from many countries.
- I created a regional affordable housing trust for the cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena.
Anthony Portantino is the proud father of two terrific daughters, Sofia and Isabella. He is an approachable, community focused public official with an impressive record of legislative and budget related accomplishments. He represents California’s great 25th State Senate District, which includes Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Sunland/Tujunga, Griffith Park and its adjacent Los Angeles neighborhoods and many communities along the 210 Freeway. His spouse Ellen is a successful executive at NBC/Universal. Anthony and Ellen have lived in the congressional district since they settled in their first apartment on Los Feliz Boulevard.
Senator Portantino came to California from New Jersey to work in film and TV production. As a Senator, he has been a leading advocate for the Entertainment Tax Credit to keep and expand film and TV production in California. He once told Governor Brown that he would not vote for the state budget unless it included the extension of this successful economic program. In the Senate, he increased the credit’s size by $180 million and created a new $150 million incentive for studio construction that is successfully building new sound stages and keeping critical union jobs in California.
Public education, mental health, and sensible gun control have been priorities for Senator Portantino. He championed increased funding for special education and the K-12 Local Control Funding Formula. He created California’s umbilical cord blood collection program, pushed back school start time for middle and high schools, banned the open carry of handguns on Main Street, raised the purchase age of firearms to 21, and placed the suicide hotline number on student identification cards. In addition, his efforts created a science fellowship in the State Capitol and established a unique partnership between the University of California and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Foster youth, LGBTQ+ students, dyslexic children and students suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome have benefited from the Senator’s effective leadership. HIV testing became easier and more efficient in California while thousands of deserving college coeds have had their Cal Grants increased because of the Senator’s public service and commitment to our youth.
Anthony is an avid and daily bike rider where he logged almost 6000 miles on the road in 2022. He is a champion for active transportation and personally negotiated the end of the 710-freeway tunnel expansion with the Governor’s office paving the way for Pasadena to develop the long-dormant freeway stub.
From monitoring micro plastics in drinking water, establishing the plan to clean up our oceans and helping to retrofit school kitchens with efficient and environmentally friendly dishwashers, Senator Portantino has worked collaboratively with local environmental activists on strong sustainability projects and delivered results.
He proudly represents the Rose Bowl, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Griffith Observatory, the LA Zoo, Warner Brothers, Disney, Caltech and the Claremont Colleges. Anthony can often be seen attending live performances in many of the 25th Senate District’s numerous nonprofit theaters. He is a staunch supporter of the arts and he worked closely with Actor’s Equity and the Theatre Producers Guild to establish a state program to support live performing arts venues.
Senator Portantino currently serves as the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a Select Committee to foster trade between California, Armenia and Artsakh. He has been to Armenia four times where he established the California trade desk in the capital city of Yerevan. He is the only US Legislator or Congressmember to have taken an emotionally powerful tour of Artsakh since the 44 Day War.
Senator Portantino is a product of public education, a proud PTA member, Girl Scout dad and 20-year AYSO soccer referee. He and Ellen are the proud parents of Sofia and Isabella. Sofia works in VFX. He graduated from Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania where he met Ellen on the school’s library steps and the rest, as they say, is history.