Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) was unanimously elected to be the next Assembly Republican Leader.
Olsen will replace Assemblymember Connie Conway (R-Tulare), who was elected Assembly Minority Leader in 2010 and has been the caucus' longest serving leader since the enactment of term limits.
“Olsen is a respected leader who has the skills and the stamina necessary to invigorate state-wide efforts to grow the Republican Party with a vision toward success. I am committed to working alongside her and fellow leaders to ensure a smooth transition into the next legislative session,” said Conway.
Olsen said her goals as Leader will be to "reconnect with voters and advance solution-focused leadership." She also promised to "promote and defend core Republican principles by refining our message and communicating that message to constituents and voters throughout the State in a way that makes them feel valued, empowered, and respected. We will embrace the diversity of our state: men, women, and youth of all ethnicities, geographies, and socio-economic backgrounds.”
As with many California legislators, water has been on the top of Olsen's agenda in the past few months. She has attended city council meetings and held public forums on the issue and openly criticized California’s long-term water policy and the way that Governor Jerry Brown is handling what has become a crisis in The Golden State.
“Water is the definitely the biggest issue facing California right now, and it’s really a tragedy,” she said at a February Lathrop City Council meeting. “The fact is that if we’d been smarter in previous years we wouldn’t be in nearly the dire situation that we find ourselves in today. And the fact is that we need to build more storage capacity.
“We have to have a way to store more water in wet years both above the Delta and below the Delta in order to be able to capture that water and save it for the incredibly dry years like the one we’re having right now,” Olsen said.
Along with the Governor's water policies, Olsen has also voiced opposition to the 2014-15 State Budget and Budget trailer bills.
“In just a few short months, we have gone from completely paying down the debt owed to schools after a decade of cash deferrals, to undercutting that goal by nearly one billion dollars. It is completely unacceptable to renege on that promise, while at the same time approving a measure that limits a school’s ability to reserve portions of its budget for tough economic times.
“I am also disappointed that the CSU is not being provided the $95 million necessary to allow more California students to be admitted, which would help support economic growth in our state. Proposition 30 revenue was approved by voters to make our educational systems whole again, but now the majority party is diverting the money to grow social programs instead of to reinvest in our K-12 and higher education systems.”
Olsen was first elected to the California State Assembly in November 2010 and was re-elected to her second term in November 2012. She represents the 12th Assembly District, which encompasses parts of San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties in California’s Central Valley. Prior to coming to Sacramento, Olsen served on the Modesto City Council from 2005 to 2009.