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Kristen Schwenkmeyer

1958 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Kristen Schwenkmeyer Obituary
June 30, 1958 - July 20, 2016
Kristen Schwenkmeyer, a longtime partner in the prestigious and multi-faceted Democratic consulting firm of Gordon and Schwenkmeyer (GSI) died July 20th. She was 58. The cause was complications from cancer, said her husband Jim Wisley. They resided in Hermosa Beach, Calif. Kim Cubine, president of Chapman Cubine Adams and Hussey, a prominent political and non-profit firm based in Washington, D.C. said, "Kris was a fearless leader in what was predominantly a man's world. Her enthusiasm for progressive causes was contagious, and she always recruited the most dedicated, loyal team members who worked tirelessly not just for the candidates and causes, but because of their loyalty to her." Schwenkmeyer grew up in La Habra and earned her B.A. in political science from UC Santa Barbara. While at UCSB, she served as an intern for Ohio Sen. John Glenn in Washington, D.C. In 1983 at the age of 25, she was named the political director of the California Democratic Party. Following the 1984 presidential election, Schwenkmeyer and her business partner Mike Gordon launched GSI, a communications and telemarketing firm which eventually grew to six offices. Schwenkmeyer guided GSI for 30 years, the last 10 years without her Gordon who died of cancer in 2005 shortly after being elected to the California Assembly. GSI has provided quality jobs to thousands of employees and raised hundreds of millions of dollars for progressive political and charitable causes. Among its clients were presidential and U.S. Senate campaigns, particularly women candidates. GSI is currently working for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Among the charitable and nonprofit causes that Kris helped to advance were Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League and the League of Women Voters; environmental organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters and the Environmental Defense Fund, and social justice causes like the United Farm Workers Union. In addition to her duties with GSI, Schwenkmeyer also had an abiding commitment to public service. As a concerned employer, she helped reform California's broken workers compensation system. She was a founding member of the California Commission on Health Safety and Workers Compensation. She served on the Commission from 1994 until her passing. She was the Commission chair in 1999 and she oversaw numerous studies that lead to the passage of landmark reform legislation. Schwenkmeyer was also an avid traveler who hiked with the gorillas of Uganda, rode elephants in the Golden Triangle, walked with the lions in Zambia navigated through Myanmar and trekked through Patagonia. In addition to her husband, with whom she would have celebrated their 25th anniversary October 12, Schwenkmeyer is survived by her parents, Robert and Kay Schwenkmeyer; brother Karl, sisters Karen and Kathlyn Schwenkmeyer and nine nieces and nephews. Those wishing to make a contribution in honor of Kris, the family requests that donations be made to the Ovarian Cancer Alliance (ovariancancercalifornia.com) or to the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (cancer.ucla.edu/donate).
Published in the Los Angeles Times on July 31, 2016
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