California is seeking state senators to represent 20 of its newly drawn districts, each home to more than 900,000 constituents.
- Collaborative skills – or at least, the ability to work with Democrats, given their overwhelming control
- Subject expertise desired, but not required: Senators are assigned to any of 22 standing committees, six subcommittees or joint committees, each focused on areas such as labor, health and the environment
- The art of persuasion: Make the case for as many as 50 bills a typical senator introduces in a regular session, or for specific budget items
- An ear on the ground: Respond to the concerns of voters in their districts, such as homelessness or unemployment
$119,702 per year for rank-and-file senators, $128,680 for second-ranking members of each party, $137,655 for the president pro tem and the minority party leader, plus a per diem of $211, as long the Senate meets once every three days (so say goodbye to three-day weekends).
Candidates of any party are encouraged to apply, though conservative-leaning candidates should be prepared to work with a potential Democratic supermajority in the Legislature and a Democratic governor.
About the hiring process:
The state Senate is seeing a shake-up this year due to a combination of term limits and new district maps following the 2020 Census. Senators serve staggered, four-year terms, and the 20 even-numbered districts are on the ballot this year. So some voters who were to pick a state senator in 2022 are now in new districts and won’t get a chance until 2024.
Seven of the 40 current senators can’t run again due to term limits. Another four have chosen not to seek re-election. For some, that’s to pursue higher office: Sydney Kamlager of Los Angeles is running for Congress while Brian Dahle is running for governor. The others – Connie Leyva of Chino and Andreas Borgeas of Fresno – are bowing out of politics altogether.
In the June primary, no incumbents seeking reelection failed to secure their spots in the general election. There are five races that pit Democrats against fellow Democrats.
The current Senate has 31 Democrats and 9 Republicans. If they flip at least five seats, Republicans could eliminate Democrats’ two-thirds control that allows them to pass tax increases or put constitutional amendments on the ballot without any Republican votes.
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