Born in Brooklyn, New York, Boxer graduated from Brooklyn College. She worked as a stockbroker for several years before moving to California with her husband. During the 1970s, she worked as a journalist for the Pacific Sun and as an aide to U.S. Representative John L. Burton. She served on the Marin County Board of Supervisors for six years and become the board's first female president. With the slogan "Barbara Boxer Gives a Damn", she was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1982, representing California District 6. She sat on the House Armed Services Committee, and was involved in government oversight, passing several procurement reforms.
Boxer won the 1992 election for the U.S. Senate. She holds the record for the most popular votes in any U.S. Senate election in history, having received 6.96 million votes in her 2004 re-election. Boxer is the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee and the chair of the Select Committee on Ethics, making her the only senator to preside over two committees simultaneously. She is also the Democratic Chief Deputy Whip.
She is currently twenty-third in seniority in the United States Senate.