Former State Senator Dean Florez is headed back to Sacramento, this time as a new member of the state's powerful Air Resources Board.
Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon announced the appointment Wednesday, saying in a written statement that the Shafter Democrat has "the resolve to stand up to the oil lobby who want to keep the status quo."
A decade ago, Florez led legislative efforts to end the agriculture industry's historic exemption from state air quality rules.
Florez issued the following statement:
“Today’s ground zero on air pollution is located in communities of color in Los Angeles, Central Valley, and the Inland Empire. People there don’t drive high end cars, but they breathe dirty air and suffer from pollution more than others. I spent my career in the Senate working to protect these communities and am honored to be chosen by Senate Pro Tem De León and his colleagues for this important assignment. My first, second and third priorities will be to represent those who are hardest hit by pollution and who need us to do more.”
Last year Florez took a vocal stand against efforts by Fresno Assemblyman Henry T. Perea and other moderate Democrats to remove a proposed cap on fossil fuel usage for transportation from an anti-global warming bill authored by de Leon. Perea's effort was ultimately successful, after heavy lobbying from the oil industry.
It's the first time the leader of the California Senate has appointed a member to the board. Legislation signed into law last year by Governor Jerry Brown authorized the creation of two new seats on the regulatory authority, one appointed by the Senate leader, the other by the Speaker of the Assembly.
Florez has a long history in state politics. From 1998-2002 he was a member of the State Assembly, and he served in the State Senate from 2002-2010. Florez currently is a registered lobbyist and CEO of public relations firm Balance, Inc. His lobbying clients include the City of Delano and the Semitropic Water District.