From the Halls of the Capitol to City Hall – Legislators Run for Local Office

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times highlights the importance of maintaining strong connections  with your state legislators. We have all heard the stories of Assembly Members and Senators, who term out and move on to higher office. It always seems a bit of a surprise when they return back to local office, but this is a growing trend with our current state Senate and Assembly Members.

According to the August 5th LA Times article, “Sacramento becomes a steppingstone to L.A. City Hall” term limits have had the unintended outcome of encouraging more Senators and Assembly Members to return to local office. There are four current Assembly Members running for Los Angeles city council; Assembly Member Bob Blumenfield is the most recent to throw his hat into the ring, running for a West San Fernando Valley seat. Other Assembly Members are Mike Davis, Felipe Fuentes, and Gil Cedillo. All these Assembly Members are facing the end of their term in the Assembly, as a result of term limits.

This move from the Capitol in Sacramento to the City Hall in Los Angeles isn’t a new one. According to the article, there are six former state lawmakers currently serving in Los Angeles City Hall; from the Mayor Villaraigosa and Council Members Koretz, Krekorian, Cardenas and Wesson all formerly held seats in the State Assembly, and Council Member Alarcon previously served in the State Senate.

Los Angeles isn’t the only place we have seen state legislators returning to local government office. Governor Brown served as the mayor of Oakland between his first stint as governor and now. And other legislators and statewide elected officials are doing the same thing. We can expect this trend to continue.

What does this mean for the Tobacco Control Program? It means that we need to take extra care and time to forge relationships with those serving at the state level.  Build and maintain that relationship now, so when they return to the local level, you don’t have to start fresh. And there is no better time to do this than during Local Legislative District Days, September 17-21, 2012. So don’t forget to sign up!

–Lindsey Freitas

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