Lucy Killea is perhaps best known for her eighteen years of service as an elected official, serving on the San Diego City Council (1978-82), in the California State Assembly (1982-89), and in the State Senate (1989-96). Dr. Killea, an American and Latin American historian, promoted communication across the California-Mexico border and helped to found Fronteras de las Californias, a nonprofit liaison with Mexico funded by the City of San Diego, UCSD, and private corporations.
Dr. Killea's career reflected her commitment to women's issues and improving women's lives. While serving in the State Assembly, Lucy helped to create the bipartisan Women's Caucus; she fought for years to implement a licensed midwife program, and the bill finally passed in 1993. A pro-choice advocate, she maintained her position in the face of strong opposition and even public sanction by the Catholic Church. Lucy retired from public office in 1996 but continued on with civic organizations and efforts to improve cross-border relations with Mexico until her death in 1917.