California Lawmaker Now Available

Now available on is California Lawmaker by Alex Vassar, editor of the One Voter Project. Alex has spent years studying the California’s Legislature and is quoted regularly by journalists around the state.

California’s Legislature and the people who have served in it have an amazingly rich history. Some have held positions of national importance like Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger or US Supreme Court Justices Joseph McKenna and Stephen J. Field (all of whom served in the Assembly).

Henry G. Worthington, an Assemblyman elected in 1862, would later serve as a pallbearer at the funeral of Abraham Lincoln. Not all these stories end well. California legislators have also been fatally wounded in a bar brawl or died in a drunken canoeing accident.

Current through the start of the 92nd Session (2017-18), this is the story of the 4,424 men and women who have served in the California Legislature. In addition to the current session, this book explores the history of the legislature since 1849.


About the Author

Arriving at the State Capitol as a Senate Fellow in 2007, Alex Vassar has more than a decade of experience in California public policy. Alex has worked in both houses of the California Legislature, as a Senior Policy Advisor for a member of the San Jose City Council and an appointee at the State Board of Equalization. His love of California political history led him to create the One Voter Project [], an effort to examine trends and explore the remarkable history behind the golden state that we know today. Through his research, Alex has become a trusted reference on legislative history and you can find his quotes in the pages of the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee. Alex can occasionally be found at the Capitol during his lunch breaks, catching up on the latest news or leading tours for school groups.

Rod Wright Resignation Letter

Senator Wright

The Senate Journal from September 17th contained Senator Rod Wright‘s resignation letter (which went into effect on September 22nd).

September 15, 2014
Dear Mr. Schmidt:
Effective September 22, 2014, I hereby resign from the California State Senate.

Some thoughts about Wright’s letter;

  • Wright was the first since Senator John J. Benoit in 2009 to not mention his district number in his letter.
  • Wright’s letter was the shortest in recent history at 12 words, even shorter than Assemblyman Mike Duvall‘s 18-word resignation, and Pat Nolan‘s 13 words in 1994.
  • Wright’s letter was addressed to Secretary of the Senate Greg Schmidt, rather than the President Pro Tem (as nine of the last ten Senate resignations have done) or the Lieutenant Governor (as Mark Ridley-Thomas did).


Price Resignation Letter

Current Price resigned from the State Senate this morning, concluding his service with the longest resignation letter in more than a decade. At 240 words, Price’s letter is the longest since Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas resigned the very same seat in 2009 (but used an extra 56 words to do it.

From a historian’s perspective, Price did it right. He used his letter (which will be printed in the Senate Journal) to define what he felt were the high points of his legislative career and his hopes for the future, in addition to the official “I hereby resign effective…” part.

Compared to his 2009 resignation from the Assembly (a 50-word letter that communicated only the minimum technical details of his departure), Price’s 2013 letter was a well and carefully reasoned farewell letter to the institution where he had served for five years.

Senator Price

June 30, 2013

Dear President Pro Tem Steinberg

I hereby resign effective June 30, 2013 from the California State Senate to be sworn in as Los Angeles City Councilman for City Council District 9.
Representing the 26th Senate District these past five years in the California State Senate has been the most gratifying experience of my decades-long career in public service.
Under your leadership, we were able to pass the kind of laws that not only protect the interests of all Californians but also improve the quality of life for generations to come.
As you know I have a keen interest in small business development and while serving in the Legislature I authored legislation that increased opportunities for small businesses to compete for state contracts and offered incentives for creating new jobs.
This type of legislation sparks economic growth, encourages innovation, opens the doors for diversity in public contracting and stimulates our state’s economy. I also successfully carried bills that expanded health care, increased educational opportunities, promoted civic engagement and supported the Arts. I am proud of these accomplishments.
While I am sad about leaving the Senate, I am excited about going home. I was born in the 9th District of Los Angeles and I have seen that community suffer a serious decline.
I know the skills I have learned in my years working with you and under your able leadership will help me build the consensus and momentum that is necessary to create a “New 9th District”.

Curren Price Jr.

Well done, Senator Price!