Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Wiggins won't seek reelection in 2010; plans to finish out term

SANTA ROSA – Amidst growing questions about her health, state Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) announced Monday that she will re-enter private life when her current term ends in November 2010.

Wiggins, who served as a Santa Rosa City Council member and then in the Assembly for six years before being elected to the Senate in 2006, said that rather than seeking re-election next year, she will look for other avenues for assisting people living on the North Coast.

Wiggins has had to overcome a variety of health-related issues during her years in office, including a hearing impairment that forced her to wear a headset during committee and floor debates.

“My commitment to fight for the people of the North Coast has not diminished a bit,” Wiggins said. “But, the physical demands of representing a district that stretches from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, have become progressively more challenging for me.

“I am proud of my legislative accomplishments. I know I have made a difference with my votes and the measures I have carried for my district,” she said. “I am equally proud of the message I have been able to send to everyone who is physically-challenged.

“When I first considered running ran for the Assembly, some people discouraged me because of my hearing problem. But I was determined to set an example, both as a representative and as a person who refuses to let disabilities get in the way. A dozen years later I am pleased to say I believe I have succeeded on both fronts.

“However, it is also true that my years in office have taken their toll. I think it is now time to move on rather than going through one more campaign,” she said.

Wiggins said she has a lot of people to thank for their support and assistance during her time in the legislature. “This is not a one-person job. Our effectiveness can be traced to outstanding staff assistance and to the many people throughout the North Coast who have shared their time, talent and ideas.

“I look forward to working with all of them in other capacities after my term in office ends,” she said.

Among Wiggins' legislative accomplishments over the years, she founded the Smart Growth Caucus in the Legislature; prevented the coastline of the Hearst Ranch from being subdivided; enacted AB 857, said to be the most comprehensive state land use and infrastructure law in 30 years; provided $1 million dollars for Russian River restoration projects; worked to expand affordable housing opportunities; established the California School-to-Career Grant Program to help those students who don’t go directly to college; provided an assortment of laws to protect people from identity theft.

While in the Senate, she worked with the California Rural Caucus to acquire $22 million from the Federal Communications Commission for the California Telehealth Network to improve rural health care through the expansion of telemedicine technology; worked to protect open space; authored SB 562, which provided $5.3 million for coastal salmon and fishery restoration projects to preserve and improve their habitat; through SB 1690, protected the crab fishery by creating an industry task force to make recommendations to the Legislature on how to best regulate the crab industry to prevent fishery depletion like that of the salmon industry; and chaired the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Other legislative efforts made significant progress in cleaning up the more than eighty rusting WWII ships sitting in Suisun Bay and raised food standards – specifically, creating the first in the nation olive oil standards based on existing international standards.

Wiggins also urged Congress to pass the salmon relief bill to provide $60 million in relief for commercial salmon fishermen and the related industries due to the failure of the 2006 salmon fishing season, and succeeded in having the Joint Legislative Audit Committee direct the California State Auditor to inspect the Yountville Veterans Home, which led to findings that the home needed to make major improvements to its health care services as well as major improvements to its compliance with the American Disability Act requirements.

Visit Wiggins' Web site at .

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