NEW CHART: Legislators by Freshman Class

After getting introductions to two new databases for biographical research (one of which is Moose Roots, a great collection of Census records as well as birth/death records), I started a refresh of the information in The refresh included, among other things, updating the list of living and deceased former California legislators.

During this update, former Assemblyman Larry Chimbole (Assembly Class of 1975) died on November 10th. I had the privilege to meet Larry during his last visit to the State Capitol several years ago, and his passing was a good reminder of why I enjoy this work. It’s a good reminder that the California Legislature is bigger (for better or worse) than the current crop of legislators who currently hold office; it includes more than 4,400 people who have had some amazing life stories. I digress…

Living Legislators by Freshman Class (1947-2015) (as of 11/2015). Blue columns represent the number of new (never served before) legislators in each class, red columns represent the number still living today.

Living Legislators by Freshman Class (1947-2015)

According to the latest available data (which is always subject to change), there are a little under 600 people alive today who are current or former members of the California State Legislature. The youngest is current Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (born 1987 and elected in December 2013) and the oldest is former Assemblyman Willard M. Huyck (born 1917 and elected in 1946).

The chart above depicts [in BLUE] the number of new legislators (who have never served before) in each incoming class and [in RED] the number from each class who are still alive. For example, no members of the classes of 2007-2015 have died yet while the class of 2005-06 has lost two members (Gordon and Ruskin) and the class of 1999-2000 has lost four (Soto, Cox, Wiggins, and Firebaugh).

Of note is former Assemblyman Huyck (the last living legislator from the 1940s), the Class of 1985 (the smallest freshman class in state history), and the high turnover in 1990-Present that has resulted from term limits. Cool, right?

Serving Legislators by Freshman Class (1947-2015)

Serving Legislators by Freshman Class (1947-2015)

The second chart depicts [in BLUE] (same as in Chart 1) the number of new legislators in each incoming class and [in RED] the number from each class who are still serving in the Legislature. Of note is Senator Jim Nielsen (the sole remaining member of the Class of 1979), Senator Bob Huff (the sole remaining member of the Class of 2005), and the members of the class of 2013 who were not reelected in 2014. You can also see the how few legislators there are from before 2011. That’s why, on the first day of the 2015-16 legislative session, the total combined legislative experience of the full California Legislature was only 398 years (which was the lowest total in nearly a century).

It’ll be interesting to see how the 2016 election changes this chart; former Assemblymembers Michael D. Antonovich (1973) and Steven Bradford (2009) are running for State Senate, while Anna Caballero (2007) is running to return for a final term in the Assembly.

Facts and Statistics 2015 Released

Arthur Ohnimus

California Legislature

It started out with a simple enough question; “How many people have served in the California State Legislature?”

While it seems like it would be easy enough to answer (after all, the identities of state legislators is hardly a secret), the answer took some time to find. As it turned out, the weeks it took to find that answer made it much easier to find a flood of other answers about that part of state history.

Finding out how many people served in the California Legislature required knowing

  • A) How many people served in the Senate,
  • B) How many people served in the Assembly, and
  • C) How many people served in both.

After a lot of research to identify different people with similar names (sometimes fathers and sons, sometimes people who weren’t related) and people listed with different names in the two houses (like Assemblywoman Elaine W. Alquist and Senator Elaine K. Alquist), we had a pretty solid place to start.

The database was later expanded to include what house legislators served in during each session, their political affiliation, gender, and which term limits law they fell under.

The end result was the legislative facts and statistics booklet available at the link below.

It includes; the longest serving legislators, the longest gaps in service, how many years of prior legislative experience the members of different sessions had, and the legislators elected with the most and fewest votes in the past 15 years.

2015 Facts & StatsLegislative Facts and Statistics, 2015 Edition


Current Legislator Tenure Rankings (End of June 2015)

Since 1849, a total of 4,416 people have served in the California State Legislature. So how do the current 120 legislators rank in terms of tenure?

In June, Senator Jim Nielsen (with 18.5 years of legislative service) moved up to become the 119th longest serving California legislator in state history, passing Don A. Allen.

Also in June, Senator Sharon Runner passed the 8-year mark in her legislative service and is now California’s 539th longest serving legislator. She started the month as the 713th.

State Senator Glazer, the legislature’s newest member, finished June with five weeks under his belt and is now the 4410th longest-serving legislator.

The complete list of current legislators ranked by their tenure;

Tenure Ranking Legislator Years of Service
120 Nielsen, Jim 18.48
276 Hancock, Loni 12.58
277 Leno, Mark 12.58
278 Liu, Carol 12.58
279 Pavley, Fran 12.58
280 Wolk, Lois 12.58
389 Huff, Bob 10.58
520 Anderson, Joel 8.58
521 Beall, Jim 8.58
522 Berryhill, Tom 8.58
523 De León, Kevin 8.58
524 Fuller, Jean 8.58
525 Gaines, Ted 8.58
526 Galgiani, Cathleen 8.58
527 Hernandez, Ed 8.58
528 Jackson, Hannah-Beth 8.58
713 Runner, Sharon 8.08
752 Bates, Patricia 6.58
753 Block, Marty 6.58
754 Hertzberg, Robert M. 6.58
755 Hill, Jerry 6.58
756 Mendoza, Tony 6.58
757 Monning, Bill 6.58
759 Hall, Isadore 6.56
1188 Gatto, Mike 5.06
1199 Achadjian, Katcho 4.58
1200 Alejo, Luis 4.58
1201 Atkins, Toni G. 4.58
1202 Bonilla, Susan 4.58
1203 Campos, Nora 4.58
1204 Cannella, Anthony 4.58
1205 Gordon, Rich 4.58
1206 Grove, Shannon 4.58
1207 Hernandez, Roger 4.58
1208 Hueso, Ben 4.58
1209 Jones, Brian 4.58
1210 Lara, Ricardo 4.58
1211 Mitchell, Holly J. 4.58
1212 Morrell, Mike 4.58
1213 Olsen, Kristin 4.58
1214 Pan, Richard 4.58
1215 Perea, Henry T. 4.58
1216 Wagner, Don 4.58
1217 Wieckowski, Bob 4.58
1218 Williams, Das 4.58
1230 Gaines, Beth B. 4.15
1988 Allen, Travis 2.58
1989 Bigelow, Frank 2.58
1990 Bloom, Richard 2.58
1991 Bonta, Rob 2.58
1992 Brown, Cheryl R. 2.58
1993 Calderon, Ian 2.58
1994 Chau, Edwin 2.58
1995 Chavez, Rocky 2.58
1996 Cooley, Ken 2.58
1997 Dahle, Brian D. 2.58
1998 Daly, Tom 2.58
1999 Eggman, Susan T. 2.58
2000 Frazier, Jim 2.58
2001 Garcia, Cristina 2.58
2002 Gomez, Jimmy 2.58
2003 Gray, Adam 2.58
2004 Holden, Chris 2.58
2005 Jones-Sawyer Jr., Reginald B. 2.58
2006 Levine, Marc 2.58
2007 Linder, Eric 2.58
2008 Maienschein, Brian 2.58
2009 Medina, Jose J. 2.58
2010 Melendez, Melissa 2.58
2011 Mullin, Kevin 2.58
2012 Nazarian, Adrin 2.58
2013 Patterson, Jim 2.58
2014 Quirk, Bill 2.58
2015 Rendon, Anthony 2.58
2016 Roth, Richard 2.58
2017 Salas, Rudy 2.58
2018 Stone, Mark W. 2.58
2019 Ting, Phil 2.58
2020 Waldron, Marie 2.58
2021 Weber, Shirley N. 2.58
2022 Wilk, Scott 2.58
2042 Gonzalez, Lorena 2.12
3622 Vidak, Andy 1.94
3630 Rodriguez, Freddie 1.77
3636 Dababneh, Matt 1.62
3640 Ridley-Thomas, Sebastian 1.58
4347 Allen, Ben 0.58
4348 Baker, Catharine 0.58
4349 Brough, William 0.58
4350 Burke, Autumn 0.58
4351 Chang, Ling-Ling 0.58
4352 Chiu, David 0.58
4353 Chu, Kansen 0.58
4354 Cooper, Jim 0.58
4355 Dodd, Bill 0.58
4356 Gallagher, James 0.58
4357 Garcia, Eduardo 0.58
4358 Gipson, Mike 0.58
4359 Hadley, David 0.58
4360 Harper, Matthew 0.58
4361 Irwin, Jacqui 0.58
4362 Kim, Young 0.58
4363 Lackey, Tom 0.58
4364 Leyva, Connie 0.58
4365 Lopez, Patty 0.58
4366 Low, Evan 0.58
4367 Mathis, Devon 0.58
4368 Mayes, Chad 0.58
4369 McCarty, Kevin 0.58
4370 McGuire, Mike 0.58
4371 Nguyen, Janet 0.58
4372 Obernolte, Jay 0.58
4373 O’Donnell, Patrick 0.58
4374 Santiago, Miguel 0.58
4375 Steinorth, Marc 0.58
4376 Stone, Jeff 0.58
4377 Thurmond, Tony 0.58
4378 Wood, Jim 0.58
4397 Moorlach, John M. W. 0.29
4416 Glazer, Steve 0.10