California’s larger, green-carpeted legislative body is cleaning house. All 80 state Assembly positions are open to aspiring lawmakers eager to represent their corner of the state for the next two years.
- Immunity to decision fatigue required, as you will be casting as many as 3,000 votes a year
- Budgeting experience a plus: You will pass a state spending plan every year likely to exceed $200 billion
- Commitment to lengthy and transparent policymaking, unless you get a spot on the powerful Appropriations Committee, where you’ll debate everything beforehand behind closed doors and then pass or kill all the bills at once
- Humble enough to represent nearly 500,000 people (a population larger than Wyoming’s) and still possibly be unknown to anyone who isn’t a lobbyist, reporter or politics nerd
$119,702 per year for rank-and-file members, $128,680 for second-ranking members of each party, $137,655 for the speaker and the minority party leader, plus a per diem of $211, as long as the Assembly meets once every three days (so say goodbye to three-day weekends).
Actual duties and responsibilities will vary depending on each applicant’s political party. Democratic applicants — whose party holds 60 of the 80 seats and is all but certain to maintain a commanding majority — should be prepared to craft important legislation. Republicans should be prepared to spend a lot of time criticizing Democrats and complaining about being frozen out of decisions.
About the hiring process:
Like much of the state’s labor market, the California Assembly experienced a “Great Resignation” this past year with 25 members of the Assembly taking a job elsewhere midway or announcing their retirement at the end of the current session. That’s a lot of turnover at a place known for its excellent job security.
The Democratic Party’s lock on the Assembly isn’t in much doubt. But not all Democratic applicants are alike. They often disagree — about health care, housing, environmental regulation, taxes and labor law. With so many open positions in Democratic-leaning districts, expect unions, left-leaning activists and deep-pocketed business interests to aggressively push the Democrat of their choice. There’s also a lot at stake for Speaker Anthony Rendon. With the ongoing effort to replace him as leader of the Assembly, the speaker is hoping to fill as many seats as possible with friendly faces.
And though they’re destined to remain in the minority, don’t count out the GOP. When Democrats are divided, the addition or subtraction of a Republican or two can make the difference between a bill becoming law or dying on the Assembly floor.
While one Democrat and one Republican are running unopposed, nine write-in candidates made the Nov. 8 ballot.
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