AIPAC supporters jam Hilton to honor outgoing local leader

During her tenure, the organization was involved in strengthening the strategic cooperation between the United States and Israel, securing funding for refugee resettlement of Ethiopian and Russian Jews, and trying to stop rogue nations from building arsenals of non-conventional weapons.

"One of the things that I am most proud of," said Lauter, "is that the pro-Israel community in the Pacific Northwest has become so politically active and totally comfortable lobbying their representatives on behalf of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

"AIPAC members, not just in the large cities, but in smaller towns like Fresno and Stockton and Anchorage, are making a real difference for Israel," she said.

Lauter became AIPAC's first regional director in 1983, responsible for organizing Northern California congressional districts. By 1984, AIPAC's Pacific Northwest region had expanded to also encompass Alaska, Oregon, Northern Nevada and Washington state.

At the rally Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-S.F.) spoke of Lauter's dedication to the American political process by declaring that "when God created Naomi, America was truly blessed."

Also attending were Northern California Congressmembers Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), Sam Farr (D-Monterey), Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), and Ellen Tauscher (D-Walnut Creek), plus Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), former California Sen. Alan Cranston, Congressmen-elect Mike Thompson (D-Napa) and Doug Ose (R-Davis).

Two mayors, Willie Brown of San Francisco and Elihu Harris of Oakland, also attended, as did former Lt. Gov. Leo McCarthy and more than 60 local elected officials.

Lauter is retiring from her position after 40 years of political activism on behalf of the state of Israel. She will continue as AIPAC's national community consultant. Elliot Brandt, AIPAC's associate director, will assume the reins of the organization's Pacific Northwest region on Jan. 1.