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One of the attacks lobbed at Nathan Fletcher concerns his attendance record in the Assembly.
As someone whose time directly overlapped with Fletcher’s, and who worked with him extensively, I simply cannot stand by and watch someone I know to be so hardworking and genuinely committed to serving the public be the subject of false attacks.
First of all, this attack is a great example of how numbers can lie. Fletcher’s opponents tout days they say he wasn’t in Sacramento voting. What they don’t tell you is three-quarters of the days they cite, there wasn’t a single vote being cast.
It also distorts the job of a legislator and attempts to fool voters to focus on one metric and believe a certain conclusion. An effective legislator doesn’t spend all of his or her time in the Capitol, nor does he or she count showing up to vote alone as doing a good job.
Representing your district at the state requires interaction with residents in your district, which usually means working from your district office so you can attend events, hold town halls and neighborhood coffees, and other means of engaging constituents to better understand their needs. These are the people you represent, and spending all your time in Sacramento isn’t the best way to serve them.
Writing and getting legislation passed requires months of work on policy and building coalitions, all of which is a significant part of the job. Fletcher wasn’t one to rack up his bill count with symbolic or inconsequential bills. He undertook some truly ambitious pieces of legislation, many of which I worked with him on.
I personally saw how conscientious he was about the policy and how skillful he was at garnering support from both sides of the aisle at a time when gridlock and partisanship was the norm in Sacramento. His ability to pass Chelsea’s Law with a broad coalition of support in an environment where the trend was to lighten sentences, not toughen them, is a perfect example of his ability to unite people behind a common good.
Fletcher understands the job is about more than just showing up, and many took notice. During his two terms in the Assembly, he was recognized as Legislator of the Year by 10 different business, public safety and health organizations for his leadership and accomplishments in the Legislature.
He also was regularly described as a highly effective legislator by his peers and by Capitol media outlets. His leadership and ability to get things done earned him the endorsement and support from dozens of his fellow legislators, as well as Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris, with whom he worked to get the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights passed.
What stands out about Fletcher for all of his supporters is his willingness to work with anyone to advance a good idea — no matter their party, whether they supported him in the past or whether he’d get credit for the accomplishment in the end. That’s exactly the type of person we need in the mayor’s office to move our city forward, and that’s why I’m supporting him.
Marty Block is a California state senator, representing the 39th District. Block’s commentary has been edited for clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here. Want to respond? Submit a commentary.