On Wednesday, Senate President Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) named Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) the new Senate Majority Leader, replacing Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) whose Senate term is up at the end of the year.
McGuire first held elected office the young age of 19 in 1998 when he was elected to the Healdsburg School Board. Following graduation from Sonoma State University, McGuire stayed in politics, elected to the Healdsburg City Council in 2004, and in 2006 at the age of 27, becoming Healdsburg’s youngest Mayor. He followed that up with election to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in 2010 and to the state Senate in 2014, where he remains today. For the past three years, he has also served as Assistant Majority Leader, seemingly setting him up for the position once Senator Hertzberg’s tenure was over.
While McGuire has occasionally been at odds with the party over issues that would affect his Northwest California district, such as how marijuana should be legalized, he has otherwise shown to be loyal to the party. During the late 2010’s, he often went after then-President Donald Trump in many instances, and even backed his censure.
Now the second-highest ranking member of the Senate, McGuire offered his thanks to Senator Atkins on Wednesday and vowed to fight issues affecting both California and the North Coast, such as homelessness, wildfires, drought, the COVID-19 pandemic, and affordable housing.
“With bold leadership along with the ingenuity and hard work Californians are known for, the Golden State is poised to emerge from this pandemic stronger,” McGuire said on Wednesday. “That’s why I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with our exceptional Senate leader, Pro Tem Toni Atkins. With Senator Atkins in the lead, we’re bringing forward one of America’s strongest climate action plans, building more affordable housing, increasing our wildfire resilience and advancing solutions to the homelessness crisis – and that’s just the beginning. Yes, we’re living in challenging times, but I’m more energized than ever to work with Pro Tem Atkins and the State Senate to ensure our best days are still ahead.”
“I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve in this new role. And, my top priority will always be the North Coast. We have been through so much together over the last several years – multiple wildfires, floods, extreme drought and this pandemic. Even through our darkest days, we never gave up and we never gave in. Together, we will never quit fighting for the future of the North Coast and the Golden State.”
His selection on Wednesday also brought considerable criticism this week, particularly over his largely strict Democratic support.
“McGuire isn’t really known as a compromiser or someone who works across the aisle often,” explained Kathleen Davis, a Northern Californian pollster, to the Globe on Thursday. “His selection shows you where the party still wants to go from here. It also boosts his prominence somewhat. He’s only in his early 40’s, and still has several decades worth of lawmaking ahead of him. Who knows where he can go after the Senate. His selection should not be a surprise, but it’s also sending a message.”
Senator Hertzberg, the outgoing Majority Leader, announced earlier this week that he would be running for a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors seat.