Supervisor Don Knabe was first elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in November of 1996 and was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012. Supervisor Knabe retired in December 2016 after attending 5,985 chicken dinners at public events.
Supervisor Knabe represented the Fourth District, which is a uniquely diverse area that is home to over two million residents and includes two of the nation’s largest economic hubs; the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and Los Angeles International Airport. The Fourth District is also geographically diverse, stretching from Marina del Rey to the Palos Verdes Peninsula to Long Beach all the way east to Diamond Bar and dozens of cities in between. The Fourth District also includes Catalina Island and San Clemente Island.
Supervisor Knabe has spent much of his political career working to protect the innocent and vulnerable children in Los Angeles County. He established the Safe Surrender program in Los Angeles County which allows someone to surrender an infant within 72 hours of birth, as long as the infant shows no signs of abuse. Since 2001, over 160 babies have been safely surrendered in Los Angeles County. In 2015, Supervisor Knabe launched a scholarship program to benefit children who have been safely surrendered.
Supervisor Knabe is also known as a national leader on the issue of child sex trafficking. In 2012, he launched a county-wide awareness campaign to spread the word that young girls are being sexually exploited for money right here in southern California. In 2013, he testified on the issue of child sex trafficking at a hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in Washington, D.C., and, in 2014, he advocated for stiffer penalties for the buyers and sellers of young girls at the National Press Club with Congressman Ted Poe of Texas.
Supervisor Knabe is a leader in regional transportation currently serving as a Director for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Supervisor Knabe is a member of the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink), where he serves on the Executive Management and Audit Committee.
Supervisor Knabe has a true passion for the arts and attributes much of his own personal success to an early involvement with music. His enthusiasm for the arts has resulted in the creation of several innovative youth programs, such as the Pediatric Arts Program at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, and the Arts Education Partnership Program, which provides grants to schools and community-based organizations to fund visual art, dance, music, and theatre programs for students.
In 2014, Supervisor Knabe announced the start of “Operation Libraries,” a plan to invest $45 million to upgrade county libraries in communities throughout the Fourth District.
Supervisor Knabe is an advocate for environmental initiatives throughout Los Angeles County. In 2012, Supervisor Knabe called upon federal and state legislators to amend decades-old laws and regulations to encourage the development of innovative conversion technologies in Los Angeles County, as an alternative to landfills. Through conversion technologies, trash that would get dumped in a landfill would be converted into fuels and energy sources. In addition, Supervisor Knabe has led the County’s efforts to improve overall water quality, including 19 projects within the Fourth District that will lower pollution and divert storm water from the ocean, including the Dominguez Gap Wetlands Project, which was completed in 2008, improved water quality, created recreation opportunities for residents and visitors an enhanced the environment by creating an open space habitat for the community.
Supervisor Knabe is respected for the strength of his grassroots support and considerable experience in local government, which have made him a highly regarded voice, not only at home in the Fourth District, but in Sacramento and Washington D.C. He was elected to the Cerritos City Council in 1980 and served as a Councilman for eight years, including two terms as Mayor. Supervisor Knabe was Mayor during the Cerritos Air Crash in 1986.
Supervisor Knabe is an avid golfer, and hosts the Knabe Cup, a CIF sanctioned golf tournament for high school boys and girls teams in the Fourth District. He also supports junior golf clinics for kids to develop a love for the game of golf at a young age.
As Chief of Staff to the late Fourth District Supervisor Deane Dana, Supervisor Knabe gained invaluable insight into crucial Federal, State and Local issues and the needs of the Fourth District’s two million constituents.
Supervisor Knabe is a veteran having served in the United States Navy. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa.
Supervisor Knabe and his wife, Julie, have been married for 50 years. They have two married sons, and four incredible grandchildren.