Democratic Senator and former Speaker of the Assembly, Bob Hertzberg, isn't slowing down.
The 63-year-old represents the 18th Senate District (San Fernando Valley) and is once again on the ballot for a June primary. I say again because Hertzberg was first elected to the Assembly in 1996 when he won the 40th District Assembly seat. In 2000, Senator Hertzberg became the Assembly speaker and served in that capacity for two years. He left the legislature to focus on business ventures, only to return 12 years later and win election in the 18th Senate district in 2014.
The 18th Senate district is heavily weighted Democratic as more than 60% of registered voters lean left. No Party Preference (NPP) voters come in second at 26%. So Hertzberg's ability to appeal to those independent minded voters is key to winning this election.
We spoke with Hertzberg about the makeup of his Senate district along with the nonpartisan top-two primary in California, his thoughts on Data Privacy and Blockchain legislation, and the personal sacrifices he has made in being an elected official.
Listen below to the very personal and revealing conversation of one of the longest serving members of the California Legislature.
Why Should Independent Voters Vote For Hertzberg?
"When I got elected as speaker, I got elected in a bipartisan unanimous basis, why, because I don't put party over country or over state, I'm here to solve problems and to figure it out. I listen, if someone has a good idea I engage. I think what NPP voters are interested in, at least from my experience is, they want problems solved, they don't like the ideologues on either side, and they don't like people getting stuck in the mud, and that's Bob Hertzberg. And that's why independent or NPP voters should vote for me."
What Does Hertzberg Think About CA Nonpartisan Top-Two Primary?
"It's challenging for me. I like it because people who before were frozen out of the primary system are allowed to participate, although they don't participate in as high of numbers. But what's concerning me is how it's practiced, because it's now being manipulated all over the place, where Democrats will get involved in Republican races and vice versa in order to manipulate the outcome and it concerns me a little bit. I've given it a lot of thought but I think we may need to look at doing our elections another way."
Thoughts on California Consumer Privacy Act Measure
"This is a Big Deal and probably one of the biggest issues on the minds of voters. I'm very aware and have had many conversations with Alastair Mactaggart who is the proponent of that measure, I'm deeply involved in it, I was deeply involved in it when I was speaker 20 years ago, and I think now is an opportunity, I don't think the federal government is not acting, and I think there is an opportunity for California to take action ahead of the federal government and be a model like we did in energy efficiency and low carbon fuel standards in a similar way and help get other states to follow our lead, so big issue, critically important and I'm spending a huge amount of time on it to come up with a solution."
What Personal Sacrifices Have You Made As An Elected Official
"It's so painful I can't tell you. Right now I'm being attacked by bail agents because I've got a bail bill. And they're attacking me mercilessly in ways that are just painful. I'm thinking money is not my god, I've been doing this for a long time, since I started in 1973 as a young kid traveling as a driver for Mervyn Dymally he was the first African American Lt. Governor and it's really my wheelhouse so the personal price is high. All of the issues with family and time are extraordinary because I don't just sit there and have my staff hand me a 3x5 card and give me a speech. I read a lot and dig in deep to the issues and it's very challenging but at the same time rewarding. But believe me in today's world with the social media, people say such mean things. The anti-Semitic stuff jumps up and sticks at you in the social media world and that's tough."
Sen. Hertzberg emphasized that he is honored to serve the voters of Senate District 18, and should he be elected for another term, is looking forward to continue serving his constituents interests.