Joe Coto is an American educator, city council member, and a Democratic politician. He most recently served three terms as a member of the California State Assembly, leaving office late in 2010. He served as Chair of the Assembly’s Insurance committee, and held positions on the Elections and Redistricting committee, Governmental Organization committee, and the Revenue and Taxation committee. He also served on the Special committee on Urban Education. Coto was elected to the California State Assembly to represent California’s 23rd Assembly district in 2004.
New laws sponsored by Coto cover a variety of fields including educational bills providing support to underachieving schools, standards for math instruction for blind students, and over $30 million to support English learners and flexibility in spending to support the educational program. He authored a bill to protect students from vendors trying to entice them with gifts to get them to apply for credit cards. Coto was also responsible for establishing an eminence credential for Native American languages to be taught in California’s schools (cosponsored by Assembly member Tom Ammiano).
In the area of health, one of his bills provides cultural and linguistic training for physicians so that they can serve their patients more effectively and another extends the Healthy Families’ program so that children throughout the state can be eligible for health insurance. Working in collaboration with the California Chamber of Commerce, as well as other employer groups, such as the California Federation of Labor, he authored legislation to fix part of the workers compensation system in a way that benefits both business and labor.
Coto completed a 2-year term serving as Chair of the 26 member Latino Legislative Caucus. Prior to becoming Chair he served 2 years as the Vice Chair. The Latino Caucus is seen as one of the most influential in the legislature. The Caucus’ focus is primarily on improving the quality of life for working families in California. With over 35% of the population in California being Latino, the issues affecting them affect all Californians.