In his second stint in the California State Senate, Jim Nielsen was first elected to the body in 1978 at age 34. He served 12 years, including four years as Republican leader, before taking a 22-year break from the Senate. Nelson returned to it following a 2012 election where he beat Democratic challenger Mickey Harrington by an almost 2-1 margin.
Between his two stints in the Senate, Nielsen served on the Agriculture Labor Relations Board, on the Board of Parole and Prison Terms, and in the California State Assembly for two terms, representing District 2.
A San Joaquin native, Nielsen grew up on a farm and later worked as a ranch foreman. In reference to how many legislators own farms, Nielsen said, according to the Sacramento Bee of June 26, 2015, “We’re not an endangered species in the Legislature yet, but there are fewer of us.”
He and his wife, Marilyn, live near Red Bluff and have five children and three grandchildren as of this writing.
SB 382: Nielsen’s bill, which he co-sponsored with Democrat Henry Stern, would have required certain Medi-Cal enrollees to receive care at “general acute care” hospitals, according to a state legislative website.
The bill passed both legislative houses unanimously before being vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in the fall of 2019.
SB 32: This 2018 bill would have allowed the state to waive sales and use taxes upon the donation of recreational vehicles. It was meant to help victims of natural disasters who’d lost their residences.
Nielsen’s district extends along the Interstate 5 corridor much of the way between Sacramento and Redding. It includes the cities or communities of Oroville, Red Bluff, and Paradise.
Budget and Fiscal Review (vice chair)
Elections and Constitutional Amendments (vice chair)
Governance and Finance
Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration and General Government