Capitol Beat – Introducing California’s New State Senators

Aaron Read and Randy Perry
Legislative Advocates
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC

A new Legislature is now in place. The question becomes, will we be a one-party state with both houses in supermajority, or will the two-party system either recover or morph into moderate Democrats and progressive Democrats jockeying for Republican support? The way we write public policy could obviously be influenced by the changing demographics of California. This year, we have three new Democrats for you to meet. 

Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco): Jane Kim may have beat Scott Wiener in a lighthearted game of Pokémon Go while campaigning, but when November 8 rolled around, it was Wiener who beat Jane Kim in the race for District 11’s Senate seat. The open seat was last filled by former Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who will be forever remembered by PORAC for authoring last year’s ill-conceived and dangerous Senate Bill 1286. PORAC, along with many other rank-and-file law enforcement associations, adamantly opposed SB 1286, which would have allowed public access to police personnel records, among other things. Our efforts were not in vain, as SB 1286 failed passage through Senate Appropriations. During Leno’s push for support on SB 1286, he approached San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, of which Scott Wiener was a member. Scott was one of three members who not only voted against the bill, but spoke up against Leno’s measure. PORAC is grateful for Senator Wiener’s involvement in this discussion, and we are hopeful for a productive future relationship with him to ensure that the thin blue line is supported in California.

Senator Henry Stern (D-Anaheim): You may remember the holiday classic from 1990, Home Alone. Maybe you even watched it in the last month or so. Actor Daniel Stern, who played the villain Marv, is the father of District 27’s newest Senator, Henry Stern. At the young age of 34, Stern is a Democrat representing parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Before becoming Senator, Stern worked as an environmental attorney and served as a senior adviser to district incumbent Fran Pavley in Sacramento. He worked with Pavley to close loopholes in sentencing and on laws that protect victims of human trafficking. He also worked under Henry Waxman, the former West L.A. Congressman, in Washington, D.C. Stern is well-educated, with a surprising amount of experience under his belt. Endorsed by PORAC and a number of other California law enforcement associations, Henry Stern recognizes that local governments and criminal facilities are underfunded and need to be treated as a high priority.

Senator Josh Newman (D-San Dimas): It was a tight race in the Senate this year as newcomer and community activist Josh Newman went all out to win the vote. You may recall him as the man in the bear suit waving a “Hello, Newman” sign on the street corner. He later revealed that he personally only dressed in the costume a few times; rather, his campaign team did most of the sign waving. Coming into the race, Newman was the underdog. He was underfunded, lacked endorsements and didn’t have nearly the corporate backing his contender, Ling Ling Chang, did. On top of that, Chang’s supporters ran ads that accused Newman of everything from stealing to harassment of women. But the new Senator remained vocal and transparent throughout the whole campaign and ended up securing his seat in the California Senate by over 2,000 votes. Leading his campaign by stating, “First and foremost, I am not a politician, nor do I ever intend to become one,” this Yale graduate, former Army officer, businessman and entrepreneur is now Senator of District 29.

On June 1, 1997, Aaron Read & Associates was given the great honor of becoming PORAC’s advocates. As the highly anticipated legislative session moves into full swing, we have never been more prepared or more excited to be a part of the PORAC team. No one can fully know or understand what the next two years will bring, but we do know that the invaluable leadership at PORAC, along with the combined experience of our team at Aaron Read & Associates, will continue to lead the way in ensuring the safety and security of law enforcement throughout all of California.

We will keep you informed as both houses begin the first year of a two-year session.