Almanac

News - December 15, 2010

Rich Gordon: Settling into Sacramento

By Bay City News Service

Peninsula politician Rich Gordon is quickly settling into a new schedule of responsibilities in Sacramento after being sworn in as the 21st District assemblyman Dec. 6.

Since Mr. Gordon's last meeting as San Mateo County's District 3 supervisor was Nov. 30, he had to make a quick transition from his job in Redwood City to his new role as an assemblyman.

"The good news is I've found where the men's room is," he joked in a phone interview Dec. 9.

Mr. Gordon, a fourth-generation San Mateo County resident, was elected Nov. 2 by 63 percent of the voters in District 21, which includes Atherton, Menlo Park, Portola Valley and Woodside, among several other towns.

He said his initial duties in Sacramento have included attending a week-long orientation session for newly elected assembly members, a Democratic Party caucus on state budget and legislative issues, and a special forum addressing the projected state budget deficit hosted by Governor-elect Jerry Brown.

The state budget deficit, which Mr. Brown's office said could hit $28 billion in the 2011-12 fiscal year, is at the top of Mr. Gordon's list of issues to address when the Assembly reconvenes in January.

"I want to look closely at budget debate and discussion," he said. "There has been no thinking ahead here in Sacramento."

His ideas for improving the state's budget outlook range from reassessing Proposition 13, which he maintains "aggregated too much power in Sacramento," and proposing the adoption of a two-year cycle for budget planning, similar to what was implemented by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

Before he can tackle the state's issues, Mr. Gordon said he has to take on some crucial business in his own office.

"I still don't have staff hired," he said, adding that once his office is assembled, he'll start reaching out and interacting with his constituents in a variety of platforms.

At his final meeting as county supervisor — an office that he was elected to three times beginning in 1997 — a group of his former staff members brought him close to tears when they showed up to congratulate him on his new position and wish him luck.

"I really believe that if I have any legacy that I leave at the county, it will be with those young people," he said.

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