Elizabeth Emken is the 2012 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. Elizabeth prevailed over 22 other candidates in California`s new open primary, becoming the first statewide candidate ever to win an official primary endorsement from the California Republican Party.
Elizabeth graduated from UCLA in 1984 with dual degrees in Economics and Political Science. Her studies included course work at Cambridge University, where she focused on political and economic issues in China and the Middle East.
For many years, Elizabeth served in management, financial analysis, and corporate operations at IBM. As an efficiency and cost cutting expert, Elizabeth utilized activity-based cost analyses to identify administrative savings across IBM U.S. - helping streamline operations, eliminate waste, and save the company millions of dollars.
Elizabeth is a fighter and a problem solver. She was "drafted" into a second career as an advocate for developmentally disabled children after her son, Alex, was diagnosed with autism. She served as Vice President for Government Relations at Autism Speaks, the nation`s largest science and advocacy organization devoted to the public health emergency of autism.
Elizabeth coordinated advocacy for multiple pieces of federal legislation addressing autism: the Advancement in Pediatric Autism Research Act, the lead title of the Children`s Health Act of 2000, and the Combating Autism Act of 2006 which authorized nearly $1 billion over 5 years to combat autism through research, screening, early detection and early intervention.
A vital element of this accomplishment, Elizabeth led the charge to ensure transparency and accountability on how the National Institutes of Health would spend autism research dollars. For the first time at the NIH, her efforts produced a portfolio analysis of autism spending that would have to withstand public scrutiny - a policy Elizabeth believes should apply throughout the entire government.
At Autism Speaks, Elizabeth launched a multi-state campaign to secure insurance coverage for autism-related services. Thirty states have enacted autism insurance reform laws, saving participating states millions in taxpayer funds that would otherwise have been directed to state health care and special education services. This groundbreaking legislation, aimed at ending marketplace discrimination against individuals with autism, passed into law in California on October 9, 2011.
Elizabeth has worked extensively on behalf of military families, advocating for support at the Department of Defense supporting health care coverage for autism related medical services in TRICARE, the health care program for active duty service members and retirees.
Elizabeth and her husband of 27 years, Craig, have two daughters, and a 20 year-old-son, Alex, who has autism spectrum disorder.