By Jonathan Friedman, Associate Editor, Santa Monica Lookout
December 5, 2014 – This week, for the first time, two former Santa Monica elected officials took the oath of office at the State Capitol in Sacramento.
On Monday, Ben Allen began his first term as senator and Richard Bloom started his second term in the Assembly.
With Santa Monica resident Sheila Kuehl beginning her stint as county supervisor also on Monday, the bayside city is well-represented at the higher levels of elected office in California.
The last time both of Santa Monica's district representatives in Sacramento were local residents was in 2008.
Former local school board president Julia Brownley was serving her first term in the Assembly and Kuehl was in her final two years as a senator. Kuehl, however, never held elected office in Santa Monica.
Santa Monica also had both Sacramento houses covered for most of the 1990s. Kuehl sat in the Assembly from 1994 to 2000 and famed left-wing activist Tom Hayden was in the Senate from 1992 to 2000.
Hayden, who never held elected office in Santa Monica, was officially a Los Angeles resident for a brief period during his Senate tenure so he could run for mayor of that city in 1997. He finished in a distant second to incumbent Richard Riordan in that election.
Whether Santa Monica will gain extra benefits from having two locals representing the city in Sacramento will be determined during the next two years.
Both the Senate and Assembly districts are large areas covering numerous municipalities and neighborhoods. Allen and Bloom likely do not want to be seen as favoring their hometown.
There is a major difference between the current duo and the one in the 1990s.
Kuehl and Hayden were not involved in local politics prior to heading to Sacramento. Allen and Bloom were groomed for their State government positions at home. They are extremely familiar with the political issues in Santa Monica and the residents’ priorities.
Allen served on the Board of Education for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, including stints as president, from 2008 until his resignation last month.
The Santa Monica native's political career goes back to his time as a student, including serving as Santa Monica High School's student body president.
Bloom was on the Santa Monica City Council for 14 years prior to his election to the Assembly in 2012. He served as mayor twice.
Allen and Bloom are beginning their terms with significant support from the electorate, at least of those who voted in this year’s low-turnout election (34.83 percent in Santa Monica and 25.2 percent countywide).
Bloom defeated Republican Bradley Torgan by more than 40 percentage points and Allen won what some political observers expected to be a close contest with activist Sandra Fluke by more than 20 percentage points.