logo

Calif. Senator Anthony Cannella Says Lawmakers Must Be Accountable to Constituents

image
Created: 06 August, 2014
Updated: 15 October, 2022
3 min read

Republican incumbent Anthony Cannella will defend his state Senate seat in November against Democrat Shawn Bagley. Yet party labels don't appear to matter much in California's 12th Senate District. Cannella has maintained a high approval rating despite the fact that 46 percent of the district's voters are registered Democrats.

The twelfth district covers part of central California, including Merced, Monterey, and San Benito Counties. It is also home to a significant Latino population -- 45 percent of the district's constituency.

Cannella finished almost 30 percent ahead of Bagley in the June 3 nonpartisan, top-two open primary -- 63 percent to 36 percent. So, how does a Republican do so well in a supposedly 'blue' district?

Senate graph - ideal points by successful legislation

Senate graph - ideal points by successful legislation

Senator Cannella has been the most successful Republican state senator at getting sponsored legislation passed, according to the Sunlight Foundation. Compared to other Republican members of the Senate, Cannella has been less ideological and more willing to work across the political aisle.

For example, in June 2014, Cannella co-sponsored AB 60, one of the few immigration reform bills passed during the current legislative session. While the bill was not popular with several members of the Republican Party, Cannella was able to gain support from many Democrats.

His success rests in his belief that representing his district and improving the lives of his constituents comes first. With unaffiliated voters being the fastest growing voting bloc in California, it is important for lawmakers to be more aware of what their constituents need.

"Our representatives need to solve problems, and work with legislators from other regions who represent communities that share those concerns," Cannella said in an interview for IVN. "We need to put the good of the people before the power of the political party or the desires of special interests.”

Local and national news sources, including PICO National Network, The Fresno Bee, and even the Huffington Post, claim Cannella's popularity is due -- at least in part -- to playing the “moderate” role. However, this fails to acknowledge the priority the senator places on being accountable to his constituents

IVP Existence Banner

“I am accountable to the people I represent, and I will work with members of either party to find solutions that improve the quality of life in the communities I represent,” Cannella remarked.

California voters approved a nonpartisan, top-two open primary in 2010 under Proposition 14. Under this primary system, all voters and candidates, regardless of party affiliation, appear on the same ballot -- making them accountable to all voters.

Cannella has noticed the positive impact the reform is having in Sacramento:

"This is my first election in the new open primary system, and it has not impacted me directly. I do think that my colleagues in the legislature are now more likely to consider a broader set of opinions when they make decisions. It’s too early to know the full effects of the change, but I believe the open primary has empowered the electorate to make changes in districts where it would have been very difficult to make changes under the old system."

Cannella's devotion to putting his constituents ahead of his party has not only made him popular among voters, but has boosted his reputation in the California State Senate as well. The Salinas Valley senator quickly became a leader in the Senate and a new voice in the Republican Caucus.

"I work closely with a number of Democrats, particularly those in the regions that I represent. I have good relationships with them. We solve problems together and we all look out for our region. I think that is a benefit to representing a rural district that elects both Democrats and Republicans," Cannella added. "Unfortunately, a lot of legislators in other areas don’t have the same kind of working relationships that I enjoy with members of the other party."

While a plurality of voters in Senate District 12 do not share his party preference, Cannella has maintained a reputation of being an effective leader who is willing to cross party lines and is accountable to his district. With so much support behind him, he has a strong chance of keeping his seat in November.

Latest articles

Glenn Youngkin
The Irony of Gov. Glenn Youngkin Vetoing a Ranked Choice Voting Bill
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has said no to a bill that would clarify how ranked choice voting (RCV) is supposed to work in local elections -- which is odd considering the only reason Youngkin is governor is because of a RCV nomination process at the 2021 Virginia GOP convention. ...
12 April, 2024
-
3 min read
Trump and Biden Debate
If Trump or Biden Don't Want to Debate, Give The Stage to Someone Else
Major national news outlets reportedly are drafting an open letter to President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump's campaigns urging them to debate this fall. Biden has threatened not to debate at all, and Trump doesn't have a solid track record committing to debates....
10 April, 2024
-
3 min read
Electoral College
The Electoral College Reform the Nation Needs is Not What Either Party Wants
Nebraska is one of only two states that has a system that awards its Electoral College votes based on the popular vote in each of its congressional districts. However, there is a contingent of state lawmakers who want to change this with the support of former President Donald Trump....
08 April, 2024
-
11 min read