Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Assemblyman Chris Norby Comments on Election

From the Office of Assemblyman Chris Norby

72nd District voters have returned me to the California State Assembly with 63% of their votes in the November 2nd Election. This marked my fourth election in less than one year, starting with last year's November 17th Special Election to fill a sudden vacancy.

I'm grateful and honored by this support and look forward to my first full legislative term, when my bills will have an opportunity to go through the entire legislative process with a better chance of success.

That success was made more challenging, however, by the loss of one seat by Assembly Republicans, cutting our numbers from 29 to 28 with the Democrats up to 52 seats. Proposition 25 lowers the 2/3rds threshold to a simple majority for budget passage, so there'll be no more need to include Republican votes. The majority party will now "own" the budget they pass.

Combine all of these factors with a new Democratic governor (if one can call Jerry Brown "new"-"recycled" might be a better word) and it will be tougher for Republican legislators to be relevant at all. The nationwide Republican sweep was a no-show in California. The Democrats won or are ahead in every statewide race.

Still, I believe I can be an effective voice in Sacramento. With the state broke and tax increases still largely off the table, efficiencies must be achieved. The Bell/Vernon scandals have demonstrated the need for local government reform and transparency. The pension crisis only gets deeper. Parents need clearer information to seek accountability from K-12 public schools. The community college system is adrift and needs a tighter definition of its core purpose. Infrastructure financing needs a closer nexus to those who directly benefit.

As a believer in personal freedom and responsibility, my first impulse is not to pass more laws or create new programs, but to reform or repeal those that are onerous, expensive, or obsolete. As a minority party member, I can't write-off all of my counterparts in the majority, nor compromise my principles for the appearance of accomplishment. But, I can look for those areas of common agreement where solutions transcend the simple liberal-to-conservative spectrum.

That political spectrum is not a flat line from left to right. It is textured and multi-dimensional and some solutions transcend easy labeling. Opportunities do exist to work with those who may disagree 90% of the time, but that 10% provides rich opportunities.

I look forward to working with local officials in my district. Noteworthy November winners include my District Director Bruce Whitaker's election to the Fullerton City Council. Supervisor Shawn Nelson was easily elected to a full term, and we'll be tackling pension issues together. Re-elected to the Orange City Council was Denis Bilodeau, my former Supervisorial staffer who I work closely with on water issues. Chris Thompson bucked strong union opposition to become the top vote-getter for Fullerton School Board.

I will be here in the district daily until January 3rd, when the legislature reconvenes with all of its new members, of which term limits assures a constant supply. Committee assignments will be coordinated with our new Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway who was elected in Thursday's closed door caucus. I've known Connie for years, due to our years as County Supervisors, when she served on the Tulare County Board, and I look forward to her leadership.

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