Resigning from the Legislature

Senator Michael Rubio resigned today.

With the resignation of Senator Michael Rubio today (see article here), it seemed that a quick stroll down “Resignation letter” memory lane was in order at this time.

Some statistics for those of you who are really interested in these things:

  • Since 1849, there have been 70 resignations in the State Senate and 127 in the Assembly.
  • Only four individuals have resigned from the Legislature more than once:
    James W. Mandeville resigned from the State Senate twice(in 1857 and 1870)
    Jose M. Covarrubias resigned from the State Assembly twice (in 1850 and 1852)

    David A. Roberti resigned from the Assembly in 1971 and the Senate in 1992 (he remained in office; he was just switching seats)
    Frank Hill resigned from the Assembly in 1990 and the Senate in 1994.

 

Of the last twelve legislators to resign,

2013: Vargas was previously the most recent legislator to resign.

Juan Vargas

January 1, 2013
Dear President pro Tempore Steinberg:
I hereby respectfully tender my resignation as California State Senator for the 40th Senate District, effective January 2, 2013 at 5:00pm.
As you know, I was elected on November 6, 2012 to serve as the United States Representative for the California 51st Congressional District. I will be sworn into office as the U.S. Representative for 51st Congressional District on January 3, 2013.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve alongside you and my fellow colleagues in the California State Senate and to represent the constituents of the 40th Senate District. I look forward to continuing to work with you and my successor to further strengthen the relationship between the State of California and federal government.
Sincerely,
JUAN VARGAS
State Senator
40th Senate District

2012: Negrete McLeod was the fifth female Senator in state history to resign. The last was Hilda Solis in 2000.

Gloria Negrete McLeod

December 27, 2012
Dear President pro Tempore Steinberg:
It has been an honor serving the constituents of California’s 32nd Senate District, so it is with great sadness and joy that I ask you to accept my resignation as an elected member of the California State Senate, effective January 2nd, 2013, at 11:59PM.
Respectfully,
Gloria Negrete McLeod
32nd Senate District

 

Doug LaMalfa

August 31, 2012
Dear Senator Steinberg,
It has been my sincere honor to serve as the State Senator for the Fourth District and the 12 wonderful North State Counties. I am proud of the work I have done on behalf of my constituents both legislatively and in helping them navigate the numerous hurdles in State Government.
When I announced my intention to seek election to the first congressional district earlier this year, I knew there would be a possibility of a special election to fill the vacancy that would be created if I were successful. While that election is still undecided, I care too deeply about the constituents I serve, the counties I represent and the taxpayers I’ve fought for to saddle them with a series of costly special elections.
I have consulted expert outside counsel and have been informed that were my resignation submitted today, the election to fill the vacancy in Senate District Four could be consolidated with the November 6, 2012 General Election, thereby saving the people of my district significant and scarce tax dollars.
Additionally, by holding the election on November 6th, a new Senator will be seated before early January so that the North State will have a strong voice during a very active portion of the new legislative year.
Therefore, I resign as State Senator of California’s Fourth Senate District, effective upon final adjournment of session.
Respectfully,
DOUG LA MALFA

2011: Ted Gaines was the last legislator to not use the word “Honor” in his resignation letter.

Ted Gaines

January 6, 2011
Dear Mr. Speaker: I hereby respectfully submit my resignation as State Assemblyman for the 4th Assembly District. My resignation is effective upon taking the oath of office for the 1st Senate District on January 6, 2011.
Sincerely,
TED GAINES, Assembly Member
Fourth District

2010: Runner was the last legislator to not use the word “Respectfully” in his resignation letter. “Respectfully” has been used in ten of the last twelve resignation letters.

George Runner

December 17, 2010
Dear President pro Tempore Steinberg,
As you are aware, I was recently elected to the Board of Equalization to represent the 2nd District and therefore must resign my senate seat effective the close of business on December 21, 2010.
I have greatly enjoyed my tenure as a state legislator as it has been a pleasure serving the constituents of the 17th Senate District. I look forward to continuing that service on the Board of Equalization for all constituents of the 2nd District.
Sincerely,
GEORGE C. RUNNER, JR.
Senator, 17th District

 

Sam Blakeslee

August 20, 2010
Dear Speaker Pérez: As a result of my election to the unexpired term of office for the 15th Senatorial District, I hereby respectfully submit my resignation as State Assemblymember of the 33rd Assembly District. My resignation is effective upon taking the oath of office for the 15th Senate District on August 23, 2010.
Sincerely,
SAM BLAKESLEE, Assembly Member
Thirty-third District

 

Bill Emmerson

June 9, 2010
Dear Mr. Speaker: As a result of my election to the unexpired term of office for the 37th Senatorial District, I hereby respectfully submit my resignation as State Assemblymember of the 63rd Assembly District.
My resignation is effective upon taking the oath of office for the 37th Senate District on June 9, 2010.
Respectfully,
BILL EMMERSON, Assembly Member
Sixty-third District

 

Abel Maldonado

April 27, 2010
Dear Senator Steinberg:
Due to my confirmation to fill the vacancy in Lieutenant Governor’s office, I hereby resign my seat as the State Senator for the 15th Senate District effective today.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my service as a legislator both in the Assembly and Senate. Serving my constituents has always been my number one priority. I now look forward to the new challenges that come with the office of the Lieutenant Governor and serving the citizens of the entire state.
Sincerely,
ABEL MALDONADO
Senator, 15th District

 

Paul Krekorian

January 4, 2010
Dear Mme. Speaker: As a result of my election to the unexpired term of office for the Second District seat on the Los Angeles City Council, I hereby respectfully submit my resignation as State Assemblymember for the 43rd Assembly District. My resignation is effective upon my taking the oath of office for the City Council on January 5, 2010.
It has been an incredible privilege to serve as a member of this house and to help shape the future of our state by creating jobs, improving our environment and strengthening public safety. I am very proud to have had important legislative successes even under historically difficult fiscal conditions, including instituting the state’s first-ever film and television incentive, reducing pollution in our oceans and making neighborhoods safer by allowing landlords to evict dangerous criminals. It has been an honor to work under your historic Speakership and with a Caucus that achieved success under circumstances that were often turbulent and challenging.
I will look back on my time in the Assembly warmly as I consider the important task ahead as a member of the Los Angeles City Council. I am eager to begin addressing the urgent challenges the city is facing, and I look forward to working with you closely in doing so.
Very truly yours,
PAUL KREKORIAN, Assembly Member
Forty-third District

2009

John J. Benoit

November 8, 2009
Dear Mr. Steinberg:
As you are aware, I was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to represent the Fourth District. I am very honored by the governor’s appointment, however, I have been advised that a short deferral of my resignation may result in a significant savings to taxpayers. A slightly later date would potentially allow the consolidation of the Senate special election with the statewide June primary.
Therefore, I hereby request that you disregard my previous letter of resignation. With your concurrence, I will resign my seat as a California State Senator for the 37th Senate District effective Monday, November 30, 2009. I will be sworn in on Tuesday, December 1, 2009.
Once again, allow me to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my service as a state legislator. I am particularly pleased that I was able to support your outstanding efforts to address California’s water crisis before leaving the senate. My legislative experience has prepared me well to address future challenges on a local level as a member of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
Sincerely,
JOHN J. BENOIT

At one sentence, this resignation letter is the shortest in recent history. Needless to say, it was written with great haste. Also notable for being the only case we could find of a pre-dated resignation letter.

Mike Duvall

September 10, 2009
Dear Madame Speaker: I hereby respectfully submit my resignation as State Assemblymember of the 72nd Assembly District, effective September 9, 2009.
Respectfully,
MIKE DUVALL, Assembly Member
Seventy-second District

 

Curren Price

June 8, 2009
Dear Mme. Speaker: As a result of my election to the unexpired term of office for the 26th Senatorial District, I hereby respectfully submit my resignation as State Assemblymember of the 51st Assembly District.
My resignation is effective upon taking the oath of office for the 26th Senate District on June 8, 2009.
Respectfully,
CURREN D. PRICE, JR., Assembly Member
Fifty-first District
June 8, 2009

Mark Ridley-Thomas was the first Senator in quite a while to resign with a letter addressed to the Lt. Governor rather than the Pro Tem.

Mark Ridley-Thomas

November 25, 2008
Dear Lieutenant Governor Garamendi:
Please accept my resignation as an elected member of the California State Senate representing the people of the 26th District. My resignation is effective at 12:00 a.m. (midnight) Sunday, November 30, 2008. I formally resign to assume my position as a newly-elected member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors representing the people of the Second District at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Monday, December 1, 2008.
So as to minimize the local government expense associated with filling the 26th District Senate seat I am vacating, and pursuant to state law, it is my sincere hope that Governor Schwarzenegger will issue a proclamation calling for a special election for voters to choose a new 26th Senate District representative be scheduled to coincide with the municipal elections in the City and County of Los Angeles on March 3, with a runoff election to be held on May 19, 2009, if no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast during the March primary election.
It is my hope that these elections can be consolidated on the same ballot already on our local government elections calendar, thereby saving taxpayers an estimated $1.5 million in election administration expenses, and at the same time, mitigating voter fatigue.
It has been an honor to serve the constituents of the 26th Senate District. I have enjoyed working with my Senate colleagues and legislative staff whose commitment to public service remains an inspiration for my own work. Although I am moving to a new public service assignment, I look forward to engaging members of the Legislature on important policy issues on an ongoing basis, especially members in the Senate—the body for which I have the utmost respect and regard—in our continuing effort to make government work for the people we represent.
With hope,
MARK RIDLEY-THOMAS
26th Senate District

 

Laura Richardson

September 4, 2007
Dear Mr. Speaker: As a result of my election to the unexpired term of office for the 37th Congressional District, I hereby respectfully submit my resignation as State Assembly Member of the 55th Assembly District. My resignation effective upon taking the oath of office for the 37 Congressional District on September 4, 2007.
Respectfully,
LAURA RICHARDSON, Assembly Member
Fifty-fifth District

 

Richard Alarcon

March 16, 2007
Dear Mr. Speaker:
I hereby resign my Assembly District 39 seat, effective today.
As you are aware, the Los Angeles City General Election is scheduled for May 15, 2007, and by my resigning today, the Assembly District 39 election can be consolidated with the city election, saving taxpayers over $100,000.00. The consolidated election will also serve to draw more voters to the polls. The consolidated election will additionally assure the residents of Assembly District 39 that a replacement Assembly Member will be elected and seated during the crucial state budget deliberations.
I thank you for your continued assistance to me and the residents of Assembly District 39.
Yours truly,
RICHARD ALARCÓN, Assembly Member
Thirty-ninth District

 

Tom Harman

June 7, 2006
Dear Mr. Speaker: As a result of my election to the unexpired term of office for the 35th Senatorial District, I hereby respectfully submit my resignation as State Assemblymember of the 67th Assembly District.
My resignation is effective upon taking the oath of office for the 35th Senate District on June 12, 2006.
Respectfully,
TOM HARMAN, Assembly Member
Sixty-seventh District

This letter of resignation was not printed in the Senate Journal until January 2006.

John Campbell

December 7, 2005
Dear Senator Perata:
In light of my election yesterday to the United States House of Representatives serving the 48th District of California, I hereby submit my formal resignation as California State Senator effective at 12:00 noon PST on December 7, 2005.
It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve the constituents of the 35th District in the California State Senate.
I remain respectfully,
JOHN CAMPBELL
Senator 35th District