Assemblyman Ken Cooley Named Assembly Rules Committee Chair

For immediate release:

RANCHO CORDOVA – Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) has been named Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Cooley announced today.

Mr. Cooley was elected to the California State Assembly in November, 2012 after serving ten years as a founding Councilman of Rancho Cordova and two terms as Mayor of that city. In the State Assembly, Ken has distinguished himself as a collaborative leader, able to foster collegiality around moving big policy issues through the process and working toward re-establishing a more collegial tone for the whole institution. After serving during the 1975-76 school year as intern to then-San Francisco Supervisor Dianne Feinstein, Cooley was hired in 1977 as top Capitol staff member for former Rules Committee Chair Louis J. Papan.

“With my early career as Capitol Chief for a Rules Chair for almost 8 years, I bring institutional knowledge that spans both the pre and post-term limits era. I know how big the constitutional office my colleagues and I fill because I learned the institution alongside my first boss Lou Papan (who engineered a successful veto override in 1979) and by working with lawmakers like Willie Brown, Ken Maddy, Maxine Waters, John Vasconcellos, Ross Johnson and Dan Boatwright,” said Assemblyman Ken Cooley.  “My top priorities as Chair will include the orderly running of the house, expanding oversight initiatives of the Assembly Committees, and growth in the capacity of the new longer-term Members to govern effectively our diverse state and complex economy.”

A milestone of Mr. Cooley’s recent career is that after almost twenty years of no effective regulation of medical marijuana, Assemblyman Cooley’s leadership and collaboration with both Democrats and Republicans played an instrumental role in successful 2015 negotiations. This resulted in passage of an historic package of three bills to regulate the medical marijuana industry which were signed into law by Governor Brown last fall.

Assemblyman Cooley has also been a leader on government oversight and accountability, spearheading the development of a bi-partisan guide for use by committee chairs and vice-chairs when conducting legislative oversight. In doing so, committee members and staff will grow their institutional capacity to be effective as a co-equal branch of government alongside the Executive branch. This invaluable tool, distributed to all standing committee chairs and vice-chairs, aims to revitalize the legislative oversight function of policy committees and create greater governmental transparency of state agency operations.

As Chair of the Select Committee on Foster Care, Mr. Cooley has focused on increased visibility for the needs of children in the foster care system and those of their relative caregivers. He has held roundtable meetings with statewide leaders, conducted special legislative hearings, and introduced legislation every year to help address the unique challenges faced by foster children and those who support the foster care system. Importantly, he has been a strong and leading proponent of increased funding and access to foster care services.

Assemblyman Cooley also serves on the Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Commission, a body he first served on as a representative of California's cities.

Ken and his wife Sydney have been married for 41 years and have made the east Sacramento County community of Rancho Cordova their home since 1977. Both his sons live there with their wives and children. Ken is a licensed attorney who graduated from McGeorge School of Law in 1984 and is a 1977 graduate of U.C. Berkeley.

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