Local Senator looking to spend more time on Vote SAFE initiative and tax board election.
California State Senator George Runner, who represents portions of Santa Clarita, has announced that he is stepping down from his role as chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus to allow more time to focus on the Vote SAFE initiative – slated for the November 2010 ballot – and his bid for membership on the Board of Equalization, district 2, also in 2010.
“Serving as Caucus chairman has been an honor,” Runner said. “But the position requires extensive time and energy and involves exceptional multi-tasking, and right now my energy and focus is on strengthening the integrity of our state’s voting process for the people of California and on winning the BOE race to serve as a defender of taxpayers.”
Runner has held the position of Caucus chairman since 2005, a year after he was first elected to the Senate.
During this time, Runner has spearheaded caucus movements to overhaul sex offender laws in the state; stimulate California’s economy; streamline government and maximize limited taxpayers’ dollars; and reform health care through creating more patient access and affordability.
He has also served as an intervener and Republican representative in the federal government’s court action against California’s prison health care system.
Throughout the years, Runner has played an integral role in budget negotiations within the Senate Republican Caucus and with other players in the budget process. As an Assemblyman (1996-2002), Runner served as vice chair on the Assembly Budget Committee and on the Budget Committee Conference from 1998-2001.
When Senate Minority Leader Dick Ackerman stepped down from his role last year, Runner was considered the heir apparent but chose to remain in the second-in-command role so he could tend to personal family matters and continue with his legislative goals.
Runner’s Vote SAFE initiative would require voters to present photo identification at the polls; ensure that California troops are counted when they are serving out of country; and require county registrar of voters to verify absentee voters’ signatures and identification.
The seat on BOE that Runner seeks is currently held by Bill Leonard, who is termed out 2010. The Board of Equalization’s District 2 runs from the City of San Bernardino to the Oregon border in Siskiyou County, and includes portions of Los Angeles County; Ventura, Santa Barbara, Sacramento and Placer counties and all of the Central Valley and Foothill Counties.