The new California Senate leader prioritizes climate change, homelessness, and opioids.(Part-2)

Chris Lopez, head of Rural County Representatives of California, is happy that rural politicians control both chambers of the Legislature. He hopes broadband expansion legislation passes. Although the policy may not always favor us, we know that they have considered us since they have been in our shoes, Lopez added. According to California State Library legislative historian Alex Vassar, McGuire's last Senate leader was in 1866, and the last plant farming senator was from 1894 to 1903.

McGuire was reared by his mother and grandparents in wine-growing Sonoma County. McGuire said his grandmother, who owned his family's prune-turned-grape ranch, encouraged him to “work hard, work together” and “never take no for an answer for the issues that you believe in.”

At my core, I believe we have to focus on policies that affect people's everyday lives,” McGuire added. In his preparations for the new post, McGuire and his staff have been vague about their plans to handle California's homelessness epidemic and fulfill the state's lofty climate goals.

Policy advocates and politicians called McGuire an honest, hardworking leader who listens to other perspectives. Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones, a Republican from San Diego County, said McGuire is a nice colleague.

“I'm making sure millions of California voices are heard, and Mike McGuire is very respectful,” Jones remarked. “He respects our opinions even when he disagrees.

Longtime Sacramento labor lobbyist Kristina Bas Hamilton doesn't think McGuire's leadership style or politics will vary from his predecessor. They are both “down-to-earth lawmakers that have always been accessible and open doors to conversations,” she added.

McGuire took Senate authority smoothly, unlike former Speaker Anthony Rendon's tumultuous handoff to Rivas. McGuire will join the Assembly without Assembly experience, unlike his predecessors, including Assembly Speaker Atkins. McGuire claims he was fired for his age after he was elected to the Healdsburg school board at 19. He remembered a board member patting his head and saying, “Isn’t he cute?” “Obviously, that was quite upsetting,” McGuire added. “But I always accept challenges.”

After serving on the Healdsburg City Council, McGuire was elected to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in 2010. Supervisor David Rabbitt, who worked with McGuire, said he can contact him and ask whether a policy would pass. McGuire will establish reasonable expectations.