Scott notches up several accolades

In his 12th and final year in the Legislature, State Sen. Jack Scott is racking up accolades.

Between Saturday and Tuesday, the veteran lawmaker was honored separately by four state organizations for his legislative work on education and the arts.

Actress Annette Benning congratulated Scott for his legislative leadership on behalf of the arts at a California Lawyers for the Arts event on Sunday in Santa Monica. Scott, who has authored legislation to provide more funding for arts education, chairs the Joint Committee on the Arts.

The Faculty Assn. of the California Community Colleges on Monday presented Scott with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to community colleges. Scott is a former president of two community colleges: Pasadena City College and Cypress College.

The Alumni Assns. of the University of California also named Scott as their 2008 Legislator of the Year at an awards luncheon in Sacramento on Tuesday, Scott’s office said. Scott, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, was recognized for his longtime commitment to higher education.

Later on Tuesday, Scott received an award of appreciation from the California Arts Council for his support of the arts. The award was part of a statewide arts conference that took place in Sacramento.

Portantino a friend of community colleges

The California Community Colleges named Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, a “Friend of California Community Colleges” on Tuesday.

Portantino received the award during the fourth annual California Community Colleges legislative reception in Sacramento.

Portantino, whose district includes a portion of Montrose, shared the “friend” honor with State Sen. Denise Ducheny and Assemblyman Tom Berryhill.

“Our community colleges play a vital role in keeping public higher education accessible and affordable and I am extremely honored to have received this award,” Portantino said in a statement. “As the father of a soon-to-be college-bound daughter, I have a strong desire to see all our students have the opportunity to seek higher education. Community Colleges play an extremely important role in workforce development and creating access to four-year universities and I wish that these tough budgetary times weren’t making that mission more difficult.”

Portantino’s efforts to advance Assembly Bill 1409, a concurrent enrollment bill that allows high school students to take community college classes so they can get a head start in college, were touted at the meeting by community college officials, Portantino’s office said.

The California Community College system is comprised of 72 districts and 109 colleges, including Glendale Community College, with more than 2.6 million students per year. For more information about the community colleges, visit www.cccco.edu.

Schiff-Jordan partnership made

As part of an effort to strengthen ties with a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, Rep. Adam Schiff on Thursday joined three Congressional colleagues in forming the Congressional Friends of Jordan Caucus. The formation of the caucus was announced Thursday at a lunch meeting attended by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, Prince Zeid Raad, Schiff, Rep. Charles Boustany, Rep. Brian Baird and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.

Jordan is already considered one of America’s closest partners in the Middle East, and this new bipartisan caucus seeks to strengthen bilateral relations between Jordan and the U.S, Schiff’s office said. The caucus will be co-chaired by Schiff and Boustany. Baird and Fortenberry will serve as vice-chairs.

“It was an honor and pleasure to meet with Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah today, and I appreciate their commitment to the close friendship between our nations,” Schiff said in a statement. “I also want to thank them for their support of this new caucus, and I look forward to finding ways to work together with Jordan to advance our shared interests and build on our relationship.”

The Congressional Friends of Jordan Caucus hopes to educate and to inform members of Congress on issues related to the United States’ bilateral relationship with Jordan.

Jordan has played an important role in advancing peace between Israel and the Palestinians and helping more than 500,000 Iraqi refugees who have fled to Jordan, Schiff’s office said.

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