The sudden resignation Friday of a state senator from Kern County robs Democrats of the supermajority that could have raised taxes without Republican votes, but could also slow efforts to scale back one of California’s landmark environmental protection laws.
Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, announced that he is taking a job as manager of California government affairs for the Chevron Corp., saying he is tired of the political life and wants to spend more time with his wife and two young daughters, the younger of whom was born with Down syndrome.
In 2011, Rubio pulled out of a run for Congress shortly after his daughter was born.
“I have realized that my current professional path has left little opportunity to be home for those who are most important to me, which is why I am making a change,” Rubio, 35, said Friday.
Rubio is the third Democrat to leave the Senate since the November elections. His departure means that Democrats are now one short of the 27 votes they need to control a supermajority in the chamber, which would enable them to override a gubernatorial veto.
Without a veto-proof majority, political analysts said Democrats will likely pull back from pushing some of the more liberal ideas they have floated, such as scaling back Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 measure that slashed property taxes.
“This may be a blessing in disguise for some moderate Democrats who were undecided about how far to the left to go” with the supermajority, said Thad Kousser, associate professor of political science at UC San Diego. “This could be a cooling-off period for them.”