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John Campbell

John Campbell (R-Irvine) is an Assemblyman representing the 70th District in Orange County. Mr. Campbell is the Vice-Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. He is the only CPA in the California State legislature and recently received a national award as Freshman Republican Legislator of the Year. He represents the cities of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods and Lake Forest. He can be reached through his Assembly website and through the website for his California Senate campaign. [go to Campbell index]

Hitting The Ground Running
A busy first week for the new administration...
[John Campbell] 11/22/03

Yes, it has been quite a week. I have lots of quick thoughts to tell you. I think the best way might be to just run down the last 5 days, day by day. So here goes:


Republican Leadership Conference in Indian Wells. This is an annual fundraising event held by Assembly and Senate Republicans. This year, Arnold is speaking. Attendance at my first one of these conferences 4 years ago was about 100 people. This year, 800 people show up. This attendance reflects the increased influence of a special new Governor and a resurgent California Republican Party.


Travel to Sacramento for the pre-inaugural Transition Team reception. An intimate gathering of about 700 people... The mood is electric with anticipation of our deliverance from 5 years in the economic wilderness. I had a nice chat with former Governor Wilson about spending limits and budget balancing and the political challenges facing Arnold.


The swearing-in. A noble, respectful, majestic and beautiful ceremony. The inauguration speech is flawless both in delivery and in content. My favorite lines are "I will not rest until the people of California come to see their government as a partner in their lives, not a roadblock to their dreams"; and when he says he wants to again make California "the golden dream by the sea." As a 4th generation Californian and one who truly loves this land, I am moved.

There is lunch that day for legislators in the Capitol rotunda. We are serenaded by a girls choir singing Ave Maria a capella and their lithely tones echo in the 150 year old building as they would in a cathedral. The Governor (that's Arnold now not Gray) says in unscripted remarks that he knows that some people want to raise taxes, but that candidates ran on a platform to do that and they did not win. The not so subtle message: it's not just that Arnold doesn't want to raise taxes, but the people don't want to raise taxes.

But the partying is short lived as I spend the afternoon working with the new administration on the spending limit and deficit bond proposals and the repeal of the car tax. I miss the Chamber of Commerce reception attended by 2500 people.


Special Session begins, and it appears that the honeymoon is already over or perhaps never began. Republican Assemblymember John Benoit introduces the Governor's bill to repeal SB 60, the driver's licenses for non-citizens bill. The level of rancor returns to pre-recall levels as Democrats refuse to hear the bill that evening. Senator John Burton calls anyone who wants to repeal the driver's license bill repeal a "racist."


Two committees, Budget and Insurance, meet. I serve on both of them. The topics are the Governor's proposals to reduce worker's compensation costs by 50%, restructure the Davis deficit bond, and put a spending limit on state government. Lots of questioning by Democrats who seem to be looking for reasons to not move the agenda now or at all, rather than looking for the good in it. I hope its just posturing. I hope I am wrong about their intentions. I introduce my spending limit proposal ACA2-5x.

I finish the day with a short meeting with a very engaged and upbeat Governor. He has been meeting with legislators all day and believes he is making progress with many of them. I hope he is right. He can be very persuasive. And, if the legislature won't do the right thing, then to the people we go again.

I take the last flight out that night back to Orange County. I am engaged in all of the Governor's agenda in some way or another. Get a good night's sleep and back to work. Time is wasting. We must improve our economy, protect our security and balance our budget. And we will need everyone's help to do it, including yours.



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