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Retiring Lawmaker: Sacramento's Partisanship Too Frustrating to Serve

Photo from Sen. Emmerson's website

Calif. Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet), left, takes the oath of office in August 2010.

Photo from Sen. Emmerson's website

Bill Emmerson began his career working for a state lawmaker in the 1970’s.  When he left for dental school, in 1975, Jerry Brown was governor.  He returned to the Capitol nearly 30 years later.  Now, after nearly a decade in office, Emmerson says he’s had enough.

“My belief is that when you’re elected, your obligation is to work with all parties here and accomplish things.  And that’s not so much the way things happen here anymore,” Emmerson told Capital Public Radio in an interview.

Listen to Emmerson's interview with Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler

Click to Listen:

One of Emmerson’s biggest frustrations came two years ago.  He was part of the group of Republican senators known as the “GOP 5” that tried to negotiate a budget deal with Governor Brown.  He says those talks failed because neither side’s interest groups would allow a deal. 

But Emmerson has praise for the governor himself: “I think he’s been the adult in the legislative room, and I think he has been very successful in righting the ship in California.” 

Emmerson says Republicans need to reconsider their positions on issues like immigration, or risk becoming a “very small” party.