My First Year Representing Senate District 23 in the Legislature

By Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, 23rd Senate District

This year’s legislative session – my first – is coming to a close, and I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned and accomplished. Representing Senate District 23 has been fascinating, enlightening and rewarding.

The days working at the Capitol are long, consisting of 10-14 hours jam-packed with a “firehose” of new information. As the chair of the Inland Empire Caucus, I often use my time at the airport to speak with other members of the caucus about what is going on in their district and discuss issues affecting our region.

I’ve learned how important background is to informing a legislator’s work. As a former educator, I have been able to understand and communicate the perspective of those on the ground who work to educate our children. As a parent, the perspective of parents who want what is best for their kids is constantly on my mind. As a realtor, the skills I developed in negotiating and arbitrating have helped me work with stakeholders to get things done. As a small-business owner, I know firsthand the struggles to make ends meet in this costly state. As the daughter of immigrants, I have a unique drive and desire to preserve the American dream and make this state better for our children.

My biggest surprise has been finding out how collaborative everyone has been. I’ve built good relationships with many members on both sides of the aisle, which has allowed me to be a better advocate for my constituents and is why I’ve been able to accomplish so much for the district in my first year. As chair of the bipartisan Inland Empire Caucus, I’ve learned how much more can be accomplished for our region when we work together.

Coming in I knew the Legislature’s role in passing legislation but didn’t fully understand its important role in providing oversight of state agencies - the Legislature is responsible for holding agencies accountable.

I spent much time this past year reviewing audits and reports of state agencies by various research entities, including the State Auditor, Legislative Analyst’s Office, and Little Hoover Commission. These entities review the practices of state agencies and make recommendations for how to improve efficiency and results. I plan to consider their proposals closely when putting together my legislative package for next year.

I’ve also learned how important your team is. I consider myself blessed with a great team in Sacramento and the district who understand and support my visions and goals. Everyone has great hearts for the people of the 23rd Senate District and works very hard to get results.

Something I’m personally proud of is that my bills have been passing unanimously through their committees, and I’ve already had one signed by the governor (SB 657). That bill required working with stakeholders on all sides of the issue, and it taught me the importance of hearing and understanding how legislation will affect different people and groups.

Now it’s the “End of Session,” and I’m told to expect a fast-paced, hectic month. For legislators, this is when we learn if our bills live, die or get pushed to next year.

Some of my bills still moving through the process are: SB 675would give counties the option to allow for seniors to pay their property taxes in monthly installments and SB 336 would require changes to public health orders (as during a pandemic) be made public and posted to relevant websites three days in advance of taking effect. I am optimistic both will pass.

Over the past year, I’ve definitely gained a deeper understanding of why it’s called “public service” – you really do sacrifice and give of yourself. However, it’s all worth it when you remember the people and ideals you are fighting for and the impact you can have on improving their lives.

I am very passionate about the role of representing the voice of those in Senate District 23 in Sacramento and look forward to continuing to fight for a better tomorrow. I am grateful for the opportunities Senate leadership on both sides of the aisle have given me to lead. While my belief in the need for a more balanced Legislature remains, I’m optimistic about the impact I can have even as a member of the minority party. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you.