Former State Senator Ruben Ayala died Wednesday night in Ontario. A report in the Sacramento Bee noted that Ayala had fought a long illness. Ayala, who served in the Senate from 1974-1998, was the long-time Chair of the Agriculture and Water Committee, a powerful position that he used to draft a bill authorizing the construction of a peripheral canal through the Sacramento Delta.
Senior staffers at the Capitol noted that Ayala (who served in World War II) had been active in the Legislative Marine Brigade, a group of former Marines who had served in the legislature. Other members of the group included Pete Wilson, Bill Craven, and Don Rogers.