She proposes increasing cigarette taxes by two cents per pack to raise money for medical research and to pay for breast cancer screenings for women who cannot afford them. She also has introduced a bill to reform the state's workers' compensation program, which has been targeted for reform by businesses and is the subject of more than 50 different reform bills.
In addition, Friedman is seeking to give juvenile dependency court judges more authority to enforce their orders with schools and other agencies that provide education or counseling for children.
She is also seeking to make spouse beating a felony for repeat offenders. Under present law, those attacks can be charged as a misdemeanor crime.
Finally, Friedman said she wants to limit how much doctors and hospitals charge for medical services.
"The medical community and insurance companies must take smaller profits," Friedman said. "Active, sophisticated doctors know this is coming."
Her present district, the 46th, includes the communities of Atwater, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Hollywood, Koreatown, Mid-Wilshire and part of downtown, areas hit hard by rioting. She said the state cannot afford to offer financial help to the owners of businesses there without taking the money from other programs or raising taxes.
Friedman took a leave from her job in the Los Angeles city controller's office to run last spring for the job vacated by former 46th District Assemblyman Mike Roos. Friedman finished 31 votes ahead of Deputy City Atty. John Emerson to win the Democratic primary in June.
She went on to defeat Republican candidate Geoffrey C. Church by about a 3-to-1 margin in the July runoff election.
But that district was carved up last year as a result of the reapportionment done every 10 years to adjust for population changes recorded by the U. S. Census.
She had been expected to run against Assemblyman Pat Nolan (R-Glendale) in what is a predominantly Republican district. But shortly after Bane's surprise retirement announcement, she changed her mind and decided to run for his seat.
Friedman, 42, has since moved to a Laurel Canyon Boulevard condominium in the district, but points out that she has long ties to the Valley. She declined to be interviewed at her new home.
Friedman graduated from Van Nuys High School, earned a history degree at UC Berkeley and went on to work for a number of liberal causes, including stints in labor and community organizing.
"It's not like I left and have never seen the Valley since," she said. "My family lives here."
Assembly District 40
Overview: After Democratic Assemblyman Tom Bane, a fixture in San Fernando Valley politics for more than 30 years, announced that he would no seek reelection, the race to represent his heavily Democratic district attracted four Democrats, three Republicans and three minor party candidates. The best known is Assemblywoman Barbara Friedman, a Democrat, who had been searching for a new political home after losing her Griffith Park-Los Feliz district to reapportionment.
Where: The district includes portions of the communities of Encino, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Reseda, Sherman Oaks, Tarzana, Van Nuys and Winnetka. To find out if you live in the district, call the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder's office at (213) 721-1100.
Demographics Anglo: 58% Latino: 30% Black: 4% Asian: 8%
Party Registration Demo: 54% GOP: 35% Others: 11%
Candidates: Democrat Jim Aldrich, research analyst Dan Coen, community relations director Barbara Friedman, assemblywoman Joel Bernard Kelman, attorney Peace and Freedom Jean K. Glasser, teacher Republican Horace H. Heidt, businessman Jon Robert Lorenzen, businessman Brian Perry, businessman Green Party Glenn Bailey, community issues specialist Libertarian John Vernon, businessman