CA SENATE MAJORITY LEADER
FORMER ASSEMBLY SPEAKER
CLEAN ENERGY ENTREPRENEUR
A LIFETIME OF FIGHTING FOR THE VALLEY
Robert "Bob" Hertzberg was first elected to the California State Assembly in 1996 where he quickly established himself and moved up the ranks, eventually serving as the 64th Speaker of the California State Assembly after being unanimously elected by both parties in 2000 and 2001. Following his tenure as Speaker, Hertzberg set out to the private sector as a clean energy entrepreneur. In 2014, he returned to state government when he was again elected to represent nearly 1 million people in the San Fernando Valley in the California State Senate.
Throughout his time in the Legislature, Bob Hertzberg has always been a champion for the communities he’s represented, delivering over $1 billion in investments to the San Fernando Valley. This notably ranges from working on the MTA Orange Line, which provides transportation for working people, to sound walls along the freeways, to CSUN Performing Arts Center and transportation to CSUN, to modernization of 38 new local, union built schools – most in predominately Latino communities – the Skirball Cultural Center, and a myriad of local organizations, like $5.7 million for Jewish Family Services to provide services to the homeless.
As an accomplished public servant and nonprofit leader, Hertzberg has been at the forefront of pioneering public policy on virtually every issue, from criminal justice reform to climate change to quality public education to technology and consumer related issues. The Los Angeles Daily News described Bob as having a “relentless dedication and indefatigable energy...he has a reputation for integrity and perseverance,” while the Los Angeles Times named him “One of the Most Influential People in Southern California” and said: “He is a high velocity wonk; he loves big ideas and will flesh out every one of them if you give him a chance."
Bob Hertzberg has dedicated his life’s work to helping lift up the working families of the San Fernando Valley. As former California State Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leader, Bob is a longtime public servant and San Fernando Valley resident who is known for taking on the biggest and most challenging issues facing California and LA County.
A longtime believer in the power of a quality education, Bob Hertzberg has been a consistent fighter for more investments in K-12 schools and affordable, accessible higher education for every Californian. Hertzberg co-authored a 2000 bill that expanded California’s existing Cal-Grant program, guaranteeing funding for every qualified student who applied. Hertzberg was also instrumental in making the University of California’s 10th campus in Merced a reality. As the architect of a compromise enabling education bonds to proceed to the ballot, Hertzberg also fought for greater investments in K-12 schools during his time in the Assembly. California voters ultimately passed multiple school bonds in 2000, 2002, and 2004 that provided over $70 billion to relieve overcrowding and repair older schools using the framework Hertzberg designed.
Among his many other legislative efforts during his time in the Assembly that have lasting impacts to this day, Bob Hertzberg authored the Women’s Contraceptive Equity Act, which required health care service plans to cover contraception. He has also earned a 100% legislative scorecard year after year from Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California for his support of their legislative priorities. In response to the unprecedented health and economic crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hertzberg worked tirelessly to help protect frontline workers and deliver aid to working class families. This includes helping allocate over $100 million to purchase vital PPE for hospitals in LA County, making COVID-19 testing more accessible, and protecting renters and homeowners. Currently, Hertzberg is working to pass SB 1014 which aims to bring $1 billion to community health clinics across California that primarily help low-income families who struggle to get the healthcare they need.
Bob Hertzberg helped found and raise funds to build the California Forensic Science Institute, now known as the Hertzberg-Davis Institute, at Cal-State Los Angeles. Locating the crime lab in the East Los Angeles section helped bring numerous jobs and living wages to the region. What’s more important than economics is that the Hertzberg-Davis Institute helps solve hundreds of crimes involving everything from gun violence to properly processing rape kits in a timely manner. The Cal-State lab has become a model for similar projects all around the country.
CLIMATE CHANGE & OUR ENVIRONMENT
Throughout his career, Bob Hertzberg has been a leader in California’s fight against climate change and its impacts such as drought and wildfire. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, Hertzberg championed resource conservation standards that will guide our state for generations, helping shape and pass legislation that addressed nearly seven decades of California-Colorado River water disputes. He also oversaw the passage of a parks bond to improve and safeguard state and local parks, as well as the most significant changes to forestry protection laws in decades. Additionally, Hertzberg authored legislation to avoid future drought by establishing permanent water efficiency standards across the state. He also fought for clean water for all in his 2021 legislation strengthening the state’s drought response in rural and small communities.
His passion for the environment extends beyond his time in the Legislature. After he termed out of the Assembly in 2002, Hertzberg became a global clean-energy entrepreneur, helping create the first solar manufacturing company in South Los Angeles, and later co-launched another solar company that produced inexpensive, lightweight solar panels used around the world. In recognition of his clean energy efforts in Rwanda, Bob Hertzberg received the “World Bank Award for Lighting Africa,” and The Guardian magazine named him one of the “50 People Who Could Save the Planet,” among many other recognitions for championing clean energy throughout the world.
DEDICATION TO COMMUNITY SERVICE
Bob Hertzberg has also been active in various community and nonprofit organizations, including twice serving as chair of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, one of the largest in the nation, and serving on the Board of Directors for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Chinatown Service Center, Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), Los Angeles Opportunities Industrialization Center, and Los Angeles World Affairs Council. Hertzberg also currently serves on the boards of the USC Price School of Public Policy and the Claremont McKenna College Rose Institute of State and Local Government, among dozens of other civic and public policy boards.
Bob Hertzberg’s career in politics started as a teenager when he was the driver for then-State Senator Mervyn Dymally who was elected in 1974 as the first Black Lt. Governor in California history. He went on to complete his law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and became a member of the California Bar. The Los Angeles Business Journal named Bob Hertzberg one of the top ten lawyers in Los Angeles, and The Daily Journal has repeatedly named him one of the top 100 lawyers in California.
Bob has two grown sons. David is a classical music composer and Juilliard graduate. Daniel graduated from Goucher College, and, like his father, loves politics and public policy. Daniel is a candidate to succeed his father as Senator to represent the San Fernando Valley. Bob lives in Van Nuys with his partner, Dr. Katharine Tellis, Director of the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics at Cal State LA, their daughter Athena, and Quinn, their adopted rescue mutt.