Personal Information

  • Born on December 21, 1947 in San Mateo, California.
  • Married to John Marshall Collins in 1978; mother of two children.


  • K-12 public schools, Palo Alto, California.
  • B.A., Political Science, Stanford University, 1970.
  • J.D., cum laude, University of Santa Clara School of Law, 1975.

Professional Career

  • Served as Staff Assistant to her predecessor, Congressman Don Edwards, 1970-1978. Worked on impeachment proceedings, the Equal Rights Amendment, and creation of the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge in the South San Francisco Bay.
  • Practiced immigration law as a partner in the firm of Webber & Lofgren, 1978-1980.
  • Taught immigration law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Santa Clara School of Law.
  • First Executive Director of Community Housing Developers, a non-profit community-based housing developer, San Jose, 1978.

Local Elective Office

  • Member, Board of Trustees of San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Board, 1979.
  • Served on Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, 1981-1994

U.S. Congress

  • Elected in 1994 as the only freshman Democrat from west of the Rockies.
  • Serves on the Judiciary Committee
  • Serves on the Science and Technology Committee
  • Serves on House Administration Committee
  • Serves as the Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation (CDCD).  The CDCD consists of 33 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California.  This group outnumbers all other state House delegations – Republicans and Democrats combined.