From Prune Farming Family to State Senate
Background and Accomplishments
Mike McGuire, a Democrat from Eureka, California, is set to become the state Senate President Pro Tempore, one of the most powerful politicians in California. McGuire, 44, comes from a family of prune farmers and has a long history of public service. He was elected to the state Senate in 2014 and has since authored legislation to protect marine life, support cannabis farmers, improve cellphone service during power outages, and address the impacts of wildfires. His district spans from just north of the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border.
Leading California’s Legislature
As Senate Pro Tem, McGuire will play a crucial role in driving policy decisions and appointing lawmakers to key committees. He will lead the Senate for two years before terming out in 2026. His leadership will be instrumental in shaping California’s future, especially as the state faces a projected budget deficit of nearly $38 billion. McGuire will work with the Assembly on the state budget, balancing the reality of the deficit with ambitious proposals from his caucus.
A Partnership with Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas
McGuire will lead alongside Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, a Democrat from California’s central coast. While McGuire comes from a farming family, Rivas is the grandson of farmworkers. Both lawmakers share a commitment to addressing key issues such as housing, education, and climate change that affect Californians across the state.
A Focus on Rural Areas
McGuire’s leadership is significant for rural areas of the state. He and Rivas, both hailing from rural backgrounds, understand the unique challenges faced by these communities. Chris Lopez, chair of the policy group Rural County Representatives of California, hopes that lawmakers like McGuire will prioritize expanding broadband access and consider the needs of rural areas when making policy decisions.
A Leader Accessible to All
Policy advocates and fellow lawmakers describe McGuire as an honest and hard-working leader who is willing to listen to different perspectives. Despite political differences, Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones, a Republican, commends McGuire for his respect and willingness to hear opposing opinions. McGuire has always been accessible and open to conversations, making him a well-liked and respected figure among his peers.
A Smooth Transition
McGuire’s transition into Senate power contrasts with previous chaotic handoffs. Although he has no prior experience in the Assembly, McGuire’s successful track record in local and state politics has prepared him for this new role. From his early days as a young school board member, McGuire has experienced dismissals and challenges, but he has always accepted them head-on and emerged successful.