Assemblymember Rich Gordon Speaks to Menlo College Students

Assemblymember Rich Gordon Speaks to Menlo College Students

Professor Melissa Michelson’s political science students at Menlo College had the opportunity to meet State Assemblymember Rich Gordon of the 24th California Assembly District. Gordon’s district includes the San Francisco Peninsula in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, including some coastal farmland. The area includes not only high-tech industry but also 80% of all the brussel sprouts in the US.

Menlo College students asked Gordon a variety of questions regarding transportation expansion, jobs, rent control, and housing costs. Gordon, a fourth generation Californian, was raised in San Mateo County. After earning a master’s degree in divinity, and devoting five years to the ministry, he worked with homeless youth for twenty years before he went into politics.

Gordon explained that responsibilities for the 80 assembly members are threefold:

  1. Adopt a state budget
  2. Introduce legislation – over 3,000 bills are considered each year
  3. Take care of constituents

He has worked to forge relationships on both sides of the aisle and across all political spectrums. Gordon has been among the most productive legislators – 26 of his bills were signed into law by the governor in his first term. Success continued in his second term, sending 25 introduced bills to the governor and seeing 24 of those bills signed. In 2014, Assemblymember Gordon saw 17 of his bills signed by the Governor, the highest number among all legislators. “Believe it or not, we [the Assembly] don’t like passing laws,” Gordon mused.

He visited Michelson’s class at a pivotal time, because six bills he wrote are destined to pass the governor’s desk within the next week for signing. They include the following topics:

  1. AB1482 climate adaptation – how to protect the district from the impact that changes will impose on constituents
  2. AB234 community food production expansion – how to get surplus food to needy people more efficiently and quickly
  3. AB1465 out of compliance drivers’ licenses – Gordon wants to authorize the DMV to require proof of residency for all original drivers to be recognized by Homeland Security
  4. AB339 curbs high-cost prescription costs – Gordon wants to reduce cost barriers to those who depend on life-saving prescriptions by capping the amount an individual pays out-of-pocket
  5. AB 901 solid waste reduction
  6. AB379 foster youth – gives foster care students a right of appeal for educational rights

Michelson has planned future speakers for her Menlo College classes, including State Senator Jerry Hill on October 19, and Atherton Mayor Rick DeGolia on November 16.