With the last two presidents in the United States having been elected past their 70th birthdays, perhaps it was no surprise that John Laird could get elected to the California State Senate for the first time at 70.
First, Laird led the primary field at 44.4 percent of the vote, despite splitting votes with two other Democratic candidates and also facing a Republican challenger, Vicki Nohrden. Laird then won decisively over Nohrden, 64.7 percent to 35.3 percent, in the November general election.
He succeeds the termed-out Bill Monning.
Laird’s election to the State Senate followed a long career in the public sector and multiple other stints in elected office. Aside from serving in the California State Assembly from 2002 to 2008 and as the secretary, appointed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, of the California Natural Resources Agency, from 2011 to 2019, Laird was one of the first openly gay mayors in the U.S. in Santa Cruz in 1983.
A past UC Santa Cruz professor, Laird lives in the city with his husband, John Flores.
Budget & Fiscal Review
Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Education (chair)
Labor, Public Employment & Retirement
Natural Resources & Water Committee
SB 390: The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn have exposed multiple issues with California’s Employment Development Department, including $810 million in fraudulent unemployment charges by inmates. To help address this, Laird introduced this bill in March 2021 that require the state EDD to plan comprehensively for recessions.
SB 272: Although the California Highway Patrol got a new commissioner in November 2020 who’s a woman, much of the CHP book language is still male gender-based. To help address this, Laird introduced a bill in January 2021 affirming gender-neutral verbiage in the CHP. The bill has since been edited to also apply to the California Conservation Corps.
District boundaries and office locations
Laird’s district covers most of California’s central coastline, including all or parts of four counties: Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo.