California Legislators go to Washington

We talk a lot about the state legislature, and I’ve written a few times about redistricting, and its effects. One of the things that I find so interesting is how legislators move around, jumping from local officials, to the legislature, sometime serving in statewide office, and sometimes running for congressional seats. The start of the 113th Congress is a good example of that.

On January 3, the 113th Congress was sworn in. With it, 82 freshman members from all over the country. That means that of the 435 members that serve in Congress, almost 19% of them were new. Compared to other years, this seems right in line (there were 93 in the freshman class of the 112th Congress and 65 in the freshman class of the 111th Congress), but what is noteworthy is the California delegation. This year the California delegation experienced the highest turnover it’s had in 20 years according to a Los Angeles Times article.

Of those 82 new faces in DC, 14 of them are from California. According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, this higher than normal turnover in the California delegation is due to “retirements, redistricting, and the new ‘top-two’ election rules.” What is even more impressive is that of those 14 new Congress Members, nine of them previously served in the California legislature as Senators and/or Assembly Members.

These nine new Congress Members are the same folks that many of you know. Some of them at worked in local City Councils or Boards of Supervisors. And many of you have met with them during I&E Days, District Days or other events and they are taking the information you shared with them all the way to Congress.

This highlights the importance of your meetings with them in two ways: 1) the people you meet with move on and will continue to remember the information that you provided to them, 2) because so many legislators moved on to national office, we now have new legislators in those seats, and they now need to hear all about the great things happening in tobacco control. And the best time to do this is during New Legislator Orientation, January 21-25, 2013.

You all now know how excited I am about this stuff, so I hope that my excitement has rubbed off, and you are all ready to make some appointments and educate some legislators!

–Lindsey Freitas

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