Assembly Member Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) on Jan. 19 was reappointed by Speaker Anthony Rendon to serve on key Assembly policy committees.
Those committees are the Insurance Committee, the Governmental Organization Committee, and the Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security (PERS) Committee.
Cooper, who represents the cities of Elk Grove, Galt, Sacramento and Lodi, expressed his gratitude for the reappointment.
“I’m excited and humbled by the speaker reappointing me to several key committee assignments,” he said.
Cooper added that he is well prepared for service on these committees, given his prior experience.
“I have a grasp for what the job entails and I just want to further that experience and make sure that I make the right decisions for the citizens of California in the 9th Assembly District,” he said.
Cooper served on the Elk Grove City Council from 2000 to 2014.
Regarding the Governmental Organization Committee, he said his work encompasses various issues, including tobacco and tribal gaming.
Cooper noted that his position could potentially include his vote regarding the proposed Wilton Rancheria casino-resort at Highway 99 and Kammerer Road. The tribe, in order to offer gambling, must have a state gaming compact approved by the governor and ratified by the Legislature.
“If that casino comes to fruition, we’ll have a hearing on compact on that board,” Cooper said. “I would be involved in that hearing and actually vote on it.”
Cooper also stated that he is not opposed to the proposed casino-resort.
“I’m for whatever is good for the city of Elk Grove, and I don’t see the casino being a negative for Elk Grove,” he said. “It will bring jobs and help revitalize the (future Outlet Collection at Elk Grove) mall over there.”
The Assembly member added that the Insurance Committee is very active, since it covers “all aspects of insurance.”
“If you think about it, there’s so much going on in the state with insurance, especially with the potential of what can happen with the (new) administration,” he said.
Cooper also noted that he is concerned about losing funding from Washington under that administration.
“If we lose funding from Washington, we’re going to have to fill those holes somewhere,” he said. “So, I think we’re going to have some serious issues to deal with. That’s the part where we’ve got to be mindful of.
“I think there’s a good chance of medical care being cut. There’s the (Affordable Care Act), school funding. There are potential cuts in a number of areas, and we’ve got to kind of backfill behind that, and that will leave a gap in our state budget.”
Cooper stated that the committee on PERS “deals not just with PERS, (but) all retirement systems (in California).”
In addition to his reappointments to these Assembly committees, Cooper was appointed last December as chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 4 on state administration.
Cooper said that through that appointment, he has oversight over the budgets of the administration, which has its headquarters in downtown Sacramento and represents many people in his district.
“When you talk about the 9th Assembly District, we’ve got the largest number of state employees in the region,” he said. “So, the decisions we make on this panel will have a direct impact on that (district).”