Addition: J. W. Van Benschoten to “Shortest Terms in Office”

Today, Assemblyman J. W. Van Benschoten was added to the list of Shortest Terms in Office page on

Assemblyman Van Benschoten served 66 days between December 15, 1849 and February 18, 1850. One source indicates that he was appointed Postmaster of the Graysonville Post Office (then in Tuolumne County, now in Stanislaus) on or around July 1, 1850.

A quick biographic point that I found amusing was the explanation that “John Wesley V.B. in his early years was a delicate boy, and his parents, to give him a more robust constitution, apprenticed him to a butcher.”

Van Benschoten, described as “one of the oldest residents of Stanislaus County”  by the Daily Alta Californian, died January 12, 1886 after falling into the San Joaquin River while transporting a passenger across the river on a ferry he operated.

Legislative History Award – 2012

David Wilkening of the California State Senate has been named the winner of the 2012 Legislative History Award.

During the forty years he worked for the State Senate, David Wilkening served the institution in a number of important positions, including nearly twenty years as Director of the Senate Office of Floor Analyses.

He led several important initiatives that led to a more transparent legislative process, including the development of several Senate Rules that slowed the process for amending bills to provide more opportunity for public comment.

In addition to his official duties, Wilkening also established himself as one of the foremost experts on California’s legislative history, writing extensively on the subject.

The Legislative History Award was created by the One Voter Project in 2012 to recognize the contributions of those Californians who have helped to better inform their fellow citizens about the history of the legislative branch.

On December 15th of each year (the Legislature’s birthday in 1849), the Legislative History Award is presented to an individual who has contributed to a more complete understanding of the Legislature.