John Burton is widely considered one of the most effective and experienced legislative leaders in the State of California – if not the nation. He began his career as a Deputy Attorney General, served as the President of the Young Democrats, and won election to the County Central Committee. He then served as a State Assemblymember, President of the California Democratic Council, Chair of the California Democratic Party, U.S. Congressmember and as President pro Tem of the California State Senate. After being termed-out of the Legislature, he created a foundation which has raised millions of dollars to assist homeless and foster care children across California.
With a consistent 100% voting record throughout his career from environmental, labor, and human rights organizations, the California Journal wrote: "Burton is trying to do right by some of the least among us.... There’s a sense that he’s not wielding or exercising power for the sake of power itself; the things he’s trying to do have a real purpose behind them."
John Burton wrote the laws that make California better:
- Established landmark farm mediation for farm workers and the UFW
- Achieved DNA testing to free the wrongly convicted and help identify guilty parties
- Secured prevailing wage rates for construction and building trades and restored the 8-hour day
- Guaranteed CalGrant college scholarships for every student with financial need
- Led the effort in the State Senate to pass the nation's first state law requiring automakers to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from cars (AB 1493 (Pavley)-2002)
- Increased aid for the elderly, blind and disabled
- Facilitated agreement to save Headwaters Forest Preserve and Farallones Marine Sanctuary; prohibited offshore oil drilling along the Point Reyes seashore
- Enacted historic levels of support for mental health and juvenile crime prevention programs
- Overhauled the state’s flawed child support collection system
- Increased affordable housing and helped fight homelessness with a $2.1 billion bond issue
- Set tough campaign contribution limits and increased public disclosure of contributions