JOHN VASCONCELLOS retired November 30, 2004. - After his (tied-for-3rd-longest) 38 years representing ‘The Heart of Silicon Valley' in the California Legislature.
John’s tenure was most informed & distinguished (even made unique) by reason of his having engaged himself all those same 38 years in his own personal odyssey - especially in his 'Search for Himself,' 'Toward Becoming A Person.' His first of many trips to the Esalen Institute was in its founding year 1962. He went on to become a personal student of Carl Rogers, Rollo May, Abraham Maslow, Stanley Keleman, Virginia Satir, James & Elizabeth Bugental, John Heider, Will Schutz, James Fadiman & Richard Farson.
His most significant legislative achievements fully proceed from & reflect his own personal odyssey (which in turn reflects our culture's odyssey over the period of his legislative tenure) and are mostly still reverberating today (in California & beyond) - including:
- Authoring the legislation (made notorious by Doonesbury's 3-week attention) creating 'The California Task Force To Promote Self Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility;'
- Creating 'The California Task Force for Positive Parenting;'
- Chairing for a record 15 years the powerful Assembly Ways & Means (which thenjad jurisdiction over both Budget + Appropriations) Committee;
- Creating SCA14 - the most comprehensive 10-point program for reinventing (so as to enable it to overcome its dreadful stalemate & dysfunctionality) California state government & politics (including a reapportionment commission, modification of stultifying term limits, public financing of campaigns, ethics provisions for campaign consultants, increasing the number of legislative districts (for more representative democracy) and more;
- Carrying into law the Williams case legislation assuring enough state $ to provide equality in tools for educational advancement for California's most under-privileged & most 'unrealized learners;'
- Twice chairing the Legislature’s diennial review of the California Master Plan for Higher Education - the premier system in the entire world;
- Authoring the CalGrant Program - providing needed aid to all qualified Californians to pursue higher education, together with AB1725, the 'Magna Carta' of the California Community Colleges;
- Creating & chairing ADEPT - the Assembly Democratic Economic Prosperity Team (considered the most significant California government initiative in last 25 years supporting economic development;
- Composing both strategic action plans - TOWARD A CALIFORNIA/JAPAN PARTNERSHIP & TOWARD A CALIFORNIA/BRAZIL PARTNERSHIP;
- Chairing the Senate Public Safety Committee, developing its 'Tough & Smart Public Safety Program,' putting a halt to expansion of California's excessive '3 Strikes & You're Out' law;
- Leading the State of California into transforming its approach to the use & abuse of drugs to the 'Harm Reduction' model, including the fight for research & distribution of medical marijuana; also recipient of the Richard Dennis award;
- Chairing the Senate Subcommittee on Aging, authoring SB953, our nation's most comprehensive cutting edge blueprint for meeting the needs of our coming 'Age Wave;'
- Leading the charge for recognizing California’s primary challenge. 'To realize the promise of our multicultural democracy, with gender equity, in the global economy, in this age of technology;'
- Serving as a leading negotiator bringing together into settlement and collaborative action both individual legislators and various interest groups - often diverse and at times utterly opposed; &
- Overall, designing a 16-point 'Expanding Human Agenda,' translating vision into real-life action.
- John's grand finale is now well underway: Creating in 2004 (in anticipation of his then forthcoming retirement from the Legislature) THE JOHN VASCONCELLOS LEGACY PROJECT - already now generating throughout California (hopefully as a working model for our nation) a wholly new politics, 'THE POLITICS OF TRUST - based upon a faithful vision of ourselves, our human nature & potential - (directly opposed to & challenging the cynical vision that informs most traditional politics today).
'THE POLITICS OF TRUST' is grounded in Carl Rogers' faithful vision, 'That we human beings are innately inclined toward becoming life-affirming, constructive, responsible & trustworthy.' Its mission is to empower every Californian (as a model for all Americans) for effective civic engagement, according to our faithful vision.
In John's words,
As traditional politics continues to deteriorate (becoming ever more cynical & negative, divisive & dysfunctional & disheartening, in both state & nation, even largely in both major political parties),
'THE POLITICS OFTRUST' grows ever more recognizable as the most promising (both profound & pragmatic) & empowering alternative pathway (serving as both unifying vision & organizing principle)
for moving us altogether and forward toward that new hopeful human healing politics so many of us (especially progressives) have so long been hungering & searching for.
John Vasconcellos is making 'THE POLITICS OF TRUST' his (all but) singular focus in retirement - and invites you & every Californian (+ all Americans) to join him as co-partners in moving 'THE POLITICS OF TRUST' into becoming the mainstream of our politics, our lives & our future!
California State Senator, 1996-2004 D-13 (San Jose, CA)
California State Assemblyman, 1966-1996 D-22 (San Jose, CA)
Attorney-at-Law, 1959-1966 (San Jose, CA)
Board of Directors
- Senate Committee on Education (Chair)
- Senate Committee on Public Safety (Vice-Chair)
- Senate Committee on Budget & Fiscal Review
- Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities & Communications
- Senate Committee on Health & Human Services
- Senate Subcommittee on Aging & Long-Term Care (Chair)
- Select Committee on Economic Development (Chair)
- Select Committee on Bay Area Transportation
- Select Committee on Rural Education
- Select Committee on Technological Crime & the Consumer
- Joint Committee on Preparing California for the 21st Century (Co-Chair)
- Joint Committee on Legislative Budget
- Joint Committee on Master Plan for Education
- Joint Committee on Prison Construction & Operations
Awards & Recognitions
- Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network
- The American Academy of State Leadership Development
- The Center for Attitudinal Healing
- Rollo May Award for Humanistic Service, 2003
- Legislator of the Year Award, Asian-Pacific Islander Silicon Valley Democratic Club, 2001
- National Legislator of the Year Award, American Electronics Association, 1993