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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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California State SenateCandidate for District 36

Photo of Patricia C. "Pat" Bates

Patricia C. "Pat" Bates

California State Senator
203,607 votes (51.5%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Public Safety including addressing the opioid crisis.
  • Protecting California's environment while also protecting California's economy.
  • Affordability/Housing/Homlessness



Profession:State Senator/Former Small Business Owner
State Senator, California State Senate — Elected position (2014–current)
County Supervisor, County of Orange — Elected position (2007–2014)
State Assemblymember, California State Assembly — Elected position (1998–2004)
Mayor, Councilmember, City of Laguna Niguel — Elected position (1989–1998)


Occidental College B.S., Psychology (current)

Who supports this candidate?

Elected Officials (45)

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (5)

What do you think the State should do to encourage affordable housing for all Californians?
Answer from Patricia C. "Pat" Bates:



Just as thirst is not quenched without water and hunger is not abated without food, California’s housing crisis will not end without building more housing.  This can and should be done while protecting local control.  The affordability challenges are driven by the lack of housing supply and there are many factors at play, including: homebuilder caution in part due to last decade’s housing bubble and bust; a shortage of buildable lots; surging lumber and material costs; a growing shortage of labor and a seemingly unending piling on of regulatory barriers hindering housing approvals.


If only a single fix were to be considered, it must be to address the regulatory barriers to both single-family and multi-family housing.  Whether through housing bonds or government funded rental subsidies, there are roles for state and local governments to generate funding to address our housing crisis.  Those options are made harder and less effective by huge regulatory burdens.  Even with this crisis, the Legislature is making it worse.  The Legislature continually adds regulations.  From requiring landlords to install electric-car chargers, to increasing building standards for multi-family development.  From increasing fees for fire-inspections to prohibiting evictions for tenants causing a nuisance.  These bills increase the burdens and costs on housing construction.  More regulation and more costs equal less housing construction.


Addressing regulatory barriers also means improvements to the California Environmental Quality Act.  CEQA must be preserved, but we must acknowledge that 59% of CEQA lawsuits target housing, public infrastructure projects and agency plans and regulations. 


I have worked with the City of Encinitas on legislation to bring granny-flats into compliance with basic safety codes and some local governments are looking to reduce developer fees for new construction.  We can increase tax credits for renters, remove regulatory barriers to new single-family and multi-family housing and even look at broader rental payment support at the state and local levels rather than just imposing new costs on the builders and investors trying to build the new housing that California so desperately needs.


I co-authored a bill that will establish the Orange County Housing Trust, a public-private effort that’s expected to finance 2,700 units of “supportive housing” for the homeless.  Signed by the governor, AB 448 represents a bipartisan effort to tackle Orange County’s homelessness issues.  It is a regionally-focused, comprehensive solution to the county’s homeless crisis shared among the County and its 34 cities.  AB 448 will create a financial and funding mechanism for homelessness solutions, including but not limited to the planning and construction of permanent supportive housing, crisis stabilization units, mental and physical health facilities, rapid re-housing and emergency beds. The trust may accept public and private sector funding contributions.





According to a "Civility In America” survey, 75% of Americans believe that the U.S. has a major civility problem. If you are elected what will do to address this?
Answer from Patricia C. "Pat" Bates:


Whether in the grocery store, at the soccer or softball fields or on the Floor of the CA State Senate, civility is a concern and a responsibility for everyone.  As a State Senator, when the legislature was facing challenges with sexual and workplace harassment, I called on the Speaker of the Assembly and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate to convene the Joint Rules Committee so that a bi-partisan and bi-cameral effort could be undertaken to re-write policies and establish strong accountability measures.  By working together, we crafted a new policy that can work for legislators, employees, lobbyists and the public.  


I have worked with legislators on both sides of the aisle.  I partnered with Senators Toni Atkins and Bob Hertzberg to assist non-profit organizations willing to build facilities such as the Intrepid Spirit Center at Camp Pendleton to treat our military personnel and veterans dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


Furthermore, I believe it is the responsibility of all elected officials to give the greatest amount of access and transparency to Californians. I return to the district every week to meet with constituents and join my district in events that benefit the public good. Additionally, my two district offices, are open to hear from my constituents on current or potential legislation or on issues affecting our communities and to provide assistance with all of our state agencies. During my time in public service as a Mayor, Assemblymember, County Supervisor and as a State Senator, I have always maintained my role as a "local" "public" "servant" in that order.



Climate changes, and the shifting between very wet weather and drought, worry Californians. What strategies would allow your district to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific.
Answer from Patricia C. "Pat" Bates:


As a legislator representing a coastal district, I am very concerned about environmental and natural resource issues.  Our efforts addressing climate change should focus on providing incentives to innovative clean energy companies in the private sector. Such incentives would promote a strong economy and good jobs as we transition towards more renewable energy.


By continuing to work in a bipartisan manner with the public and private sectors, we can continue to protect our coast for generations to come.


I have a strong voting record of protecting our oceans and our coastline.  Examples include SB 835 and AB 1775 which prohibit the State Lands Commission (SLC) from entering into any new lease or other conveyance authorizing new construction of oil and gas related infrastructure on tidelands and submerged lands within state waters related to new oil and gas leases in federal waters. Both bills were designed to head off any attempt by the federal government to open federal waters up to new offshore drilling.   AB 2139 requires the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) to coordinate and facilitate research on ocean acidification and hypoxia and to annually adopt recommendations for further actions to address ocean acidification and hypoxia.  


We must also address water infrastructure needs.  I supported AB 2594 which authorized a public entity that captures stormwater, in accordance with a stormwater resource plan, before the water reaches a natural channel to use the captured water to the extent that the water augments existing water supplies. The California Coastkeeper Alliance noted that this offers public entities lacking resources a financial incentive to install stormwater capture projects.


I supported AB 2800 which required state agencies to take into account current and future impacts of climate change when planning, designing, building, operating, maintaining, and investing in state infrastructure. The bill requires the establishment of a Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group for the purpose of examining how to integrate scientific data concerning projected climate change impacts into state infrastructure engineering and requires the group to recommend to the Legislature a process for integrating scientific knowledge of projected climate change impacts into state infrastructure design.


Meeting our water needs requires multiple strategies.  Communities across Southern California have tried to do their part, reducing domestic water usage and encouraging other water conservation efforts. However, reducing water usage alone cannot meet the need for future Californians and does nothing to ensure that our future water supplies are stable and reliable.  For these reasons, I supported the desalination project in Carlsbad and I support the proposed project in Huntington Beach.  My op-ed in the San Diego Union Tribune can be found at the link:


During my time as a County Supervisor, I served on the Environmental Mitigation Committee for the Orange County Transportation Authority.  We brought together all stakeholders to advance strong environmental goals and needed transportation projects.  We were successful at safeguarding thousands of acres of land for open space.  These types of collaborative efforts can be utilized to advance our water needs as well.


What programs or strategies would you suggest to meet the educational needs of young, low-income Californians?
Answer from Patricia C. "Pat" Bates:


Since 2012, taxes have been hiked twice to improve education and K-14 spending increased by 66% to an all-time high.  Despite recent progress, California still trails behind, with both lower average scores and greater disparities among student groups relative to other states.


 Having high-quality teachers in every classroom and having parents take more responsibility for sending their kids to school prepared to learn remain as two of the most important needs for educational success.


Closing the achievement gap is essential for California’s kids and its economy.  Two needed reforms include providing school site-level transparency and improving the state’s “Dashboard.”  Both reforms can and should be implemented by the State Board of Education.


Under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) program, education funding transparency data stops at the district level.  Currently, there is no way for parents or communities to view actual expenditures at the school site level to verify whether the additional funding that was supposed to be targeted for poor and English-learner students is reaching those children and whether it is making a difference.


Improving the state’s “Dashboard” (an online tool intended to show how schools and districts are performing on test scores, graduation rates, and other measures of student success) would include providing clear information about schools that parents and taxpayers need and want.  Recent USC polling found that parents wanted a simple overall rating of schools, such as an A-F or 0-100 scale.  The current “Dashboard” system does not allow comparisons between individual schools or districts.


Currently there isn't enough money in the state retirement system to pay for all the benefits promised to government workers. What would you do as Senator to address the state’s unfunded pension liability?
Answer from Patricia C. "Pat" Bates:


Legislators are not eligible for pensions and I refused to take a pension for my service as a County Supervisor. Pensions earned to date should be protected. We must look at later retirement dates for new employees and those further away from retirement. Also consider pre-paying pension and employee healthcare liabilities as budgets allow. Since benefits increase as salaries increase, we should consider providing some future compensation increases in ways that don’t impact pension costs.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $1,389,879

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Cal Fire Local 2881
E&J Gallo Winery
California Association of Realtors
Farmers Insurance Group
California Dental Association

More information about contributions

By State:

California 71.69%
District of Columbia 4.27%
Texas 2.72%
Illinois 1.97%
Other 19.35%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.87%)
Small contributions (0.13%)

By Type:

From organizations (95.63%)
From individuals (4.37%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

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