Nielsen Reaches 1,000 Weeks

Senator Nielsen

An interesting point in California legislative history was quietly reached this week. For the first time in a number of years, and probably for the last time in quite a while, a legislator reached 1,000 weeks of service in the legislature.

Senator Jim Nielsen, who served twelve years in the Senate from 1978-1990 and four years in the State Assembly (2008-2012), returned to the State Senate in a 2013 special election. His return to the Senate made him the first person to serve non-consecutive terms in the State Senate in 43 years. As an interesting side note, two years after Nielsen returned, Sharon Runner became the third non-consecutive Senator in a half-century.

Although 1,000 weeks is a notable achievement in itself, what makes this time particularly notable is that it’s unlikely to happen again. Because of the small number of living legislators who never served during the term limits era, it’s almost certain that Nielsen, as the 117th “thousand-week-legislators” will be the last. Like the others who reached this milestone before him (Art Torres, Bill Lockyer, Newt Russell, H. L. Richardson, Diane Watson), Nielsen is a bridge between eras.

It’s a milestone worth noting as we pass it for the last time.