Thursday, August 31, 2023

New California Senate Pro Tem represents a vast rural district, along with some Bay Area suburbia/exurbia

The world of California politics appeared a bit surprised yesterday when the Democratic leadership of the State Senate announced that Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) would succeed Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) as President Pro Tem of the body.  McGuire lives in Sonoma County, toward the far southern (and more populous) end of a massive district that stretches along the Pacific coast from Marin County (on the northern side of the Golden Gate Bridge), up through Del Norte County at the Oregon state line.  His district is, I believe, the second largest of California's Senate districts in land area and includes vast rural areas  The largest is represented by Brain Dahle (R-Bieber) and runs from the Oregon state line south of Lake Tahoe to include Alpine county.      

Here's an excerpt from Politico's coverage of McGuire's ascension to leadership:
McGuire’s term would be brief — no more than 2 ½ years, since he’s termed out in 2026. He and Atkins are negotiating a transition that could begin as soon as January, though the exact timing wasn’t specified.

The decision came after a relatively short period of whipping votes and some brief discussions Monday. McGuire edged out other candidates, including Monique Limón; John Laird; María Elena Durazo; and Steve Padilla.
* * * 
McGuire's ascension comes after months of growing speculation about who would follow Atkins, the first woman and openly gay lawmaker to hold the post. He had pitched himself as an interim leader who can serve as a bridge between an outgoing class of veteran senators and a large group of newer members — some with future leadership aspirations of their own.

The process was devoid of the drama and prolonged leadership clash that just played out in the Assembly, where Speaker Robert Rivas pushed out Anthony Rendon in a fight that fractured the caucus. The Senate leadership contest was worked out within roughly 24 hours of McGuire telling colleagues he had secured the votes. Many senators and staffers also said they had hoped to avoid the Assembly’s fate.
Rivas represents a rural district of a somewhat different sort, one even more focused on agriculture, in the Salinas Valley in central California. 

McGuire has been on Atkins' leadership team since 2022. He has served in the state senate since 2014. He previously served as mayor of Healdsburg and was also a member of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

I've followed McGuire on Twitter for years and have been pleased to see his concern and advocacy for far northern California's rural reaches, as in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties.  Among the headlines from his Senate page are these, which are relatively rural focused: 


Prior blog posts about McGuire's district, which mention the state senator, are here.

Here are some blog posts about McGuire's Republican counterpart, Brian Dahle, from that even more rural and sparsely populated district 1,  which is the inland counterpart of McGuire's and runs contiguous to it for hundreds of miles.  Dahle ran against Gavin Newsom in 2022 for the governorship of California and lost badly.  I see on his recent X (formerly known as Twitter) that Dahle is associated with an anti-crime rally on the Capitol grounds. 

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