Skilled Leadership and Deep Experience
John Laird was elected on November 3, 2020, to represent the 17th District in the California State Senate. John carried the district, including all four counties, by a margin of over 145,000 votes. John has been appointed to serve on several State Senate committees, including: Chair, Senate Budget Subcommittee #1 (Education); Vice Chair, Joint Committee on Rules; Member, Budget & Fiscal Review Committee; Member, Judiciary Committee; Member, Labor, Public Employment & Retirement; Member, Natural Resources & Water Committee; Member, Rules Committee; and Member, Joint Legislative Audit Committee.
Prior to being elected to the State Senate, John served as California Secretary for Natural Resources for Governor Jerry Brown from January 5, 2011 until January 7, 2019. John also served as a member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board from 2008 to 2009 and taught state environmental policy at University of California Santa Cruz. In 2002, he was elected Assemblymember to represent the 27th District, which included portions of Monterey, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties, and reelected in 2004 and 2006. While serving the maximum three terms in the Assembly, John authored 82 bills that were signed into law.
Prior to serving in the State Assembly, John served as an elected member of the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2002. He also served as executive director of the Santa Cruz AIDS Project from 1991 to 1994.
In 1981, John was elected to the Santa Cruz City Council, and served nine years until term limits ended his council service in 1990. He was a two-term Santa Cruz mayor from 1983 to 1984 and from 1987 to 1988.
The son of teachers and raised in Vallejo, John graduated with honors in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has been a long-time resident of Santa Cruz with his spouse John Flores. John has traveled extensively, is fluent in Spanish, enjoys conducting family history research, and is a life-long Chicago Cubs fan.