Assemblymember Gray’s Statement on Being Stripped of Committee Chairmanship

Assemblymember Adam Gray leads a Rally to Fight the State Water Grab on the Capitol Steps in Sacramento on Monday, August 20, 2018 to protect the Valley’s water, agriculture and economy.

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement after being stripped of his position as Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee.

History repeats itself.

“Five years ago, I fought to pass legislation to hold the State Water Board accountable for the devastating economic impacts the state water grab will inflict on the people living in my district and the greater San Joaquin Valley. Despite active opposition from legislative leadership, my bill was approved by a narrow committee vote, and I was summarily removed from my position on the Assembly Water Committee.

“This year, Speaker Anthony Rendon and State Water Board staff put forward special legislation to short-circuit the voluntary agreements being negotiated by the state and our local irrigation districts. The language was inserted into a Budget Trailer bill and gave the State Water Board staff the authority to implement an even more destructive version of their water grab without review and without even a public vote. I voted no.

“As a result of my commitment to defend my district, Speaker Rendon has stripped me of my position as Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee.

“I have spent my entire time in public office fighting Sacramento’s insatiable thirst for the Valley’s water. Every time I am punished by my own party’s leadership for standing up for my district, it is a reminder that I was elected to represent the people who live and work in Merced and Stanislaus counties.

“No elected official should ever vote for policies that promise to destroy thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic opportunity in their district for the benefit of others. I remain unmoved. I would and will vote no again.”

The State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) is engaged in an inappropriate and unacceptable action designed to short-circuit the regulatory process and kill the spirit of negotiation. This action would have lasting health, economic and social impacts on the 460,000 people living in my Assembly District as well as the millions living in the San Joaquin Valley.

Letter to Director Sobeck from Assemblymember Adam Gray

Assemblymember Adam Gray leads a Rally to Fight the State Water Grab on the Capitol Steps in Sacramento on Monday, August 20, 2018 to protect the Valley’s water, agriculture and economy.

Read the Bee Editorial Board from 2015 “Speaker Atkins Punishes Gray for trying to help Valley”

EDITORIAL: Speaker Atkins punishes Gray for trying to help Valley
BY THE BEE EDITORIAL BOARD

APRIL 22, 2015 05:37 PM
·
It’s not easy being a “Valleycrat,” as Assembly Member Adam Gray of Merced learned the hard way last week.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a Valleycrat is a Democrat from the San Joaquin Valley whose political beliefs are more conservative than party members from coastal California. Valleycrats often focus on pragmatic solutions to thorny problems and try to stick up for their constituents.

The rub comes when sticking up for constituents — or even voting your conscience — puts you at odds with the liberal Democratic leadership that runs the Legislature.

You can end up in the infamous “doghouse,” the smallest office in the Capitol, as happened to then-Assembly Member Juan Arambula in 2006. Arambula’s sin was not voting on a public works bond package because it did not include money for dams. Arambula bolted the party and became an Independent.

Another Valleycrat, then-Assembly Member Nicole Parra of Hanford, was ordered from her office in 2008 as punishment for bucking the party on a budget vote. Karen Bass, the Speaker at the time, was so mad she assigned Parra space across the street in a building where no other lawmakers were quartered.

But we digress.

Gray was dismissed from the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee by Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego after his Assembly Bill 1242 passed its first committee vote April 14. A member of Atkins’ staff told The Modesto Bee it was a routine reassignment. Don’t you believe it.

AB 1242 is important to the Valley. Basically, it anticipates the demands expected from the State Water Resources Control Board that more water be left in rivers for the benefit of fish and downstream users. AB 1242 would require the state to recognize the potential harm of these demands and take steps to mitigate that damage.

Understand: The expectation was that Gray’s bill wouldn’t make it out of committee. But AB 1242 passed despite long odds, largely because at least two dozen people from Modesto and Merced cared enough to attend the vote and testify about its importance. Dozens of others submitted letters explaining the impact the state’s expected water grab will have on farming and residents.

Atkins should not believe for a second that the Valley will sit quietly while she tries to silence our voices with her childish party games. Give her a taste of Valley straight talk by email, http://asmdc.org/speaker/, phone (916) 319-2078, Twitter @toniatkins, or in writing State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849; Sacramento, CA 94249-0078.