John Vasconcellos, the second longest serving member of the California Legislature (with 38 years), was one of the notables to leave us in 2014. Another was State Treasurer Bert A. Betts, who as a B-24 pilot in WWII, flew “30 consecutive missions over Germany and enemy occupied territory without once failing to complete a mission.”
A more recent figure in the Capitol, Ira Ruskin served in the Assembly until terming out in 2010. Six months after leaving office, doctors diagnosed Ruskin as having incurable brain cancer. He lived with the cancer for more than three years. As the opponent of the first candidate I ever worked for, Ruskin’s victory in 2004 played a major part in motivating my interest in California’s political history.
Ira Ruskin – State Assemblyman (2004-2010)
Earl S. Smittcamp – Disaster Acting Governor (1967-2014)