Democrat Jim Frazier's swearing-in as an assemblyman today will climax a 12-year journey in politics that began with the death of his 20-year-old daughter in a head-on traffic accident.
"It's been a long road to get this opportunity to serve the people of my district," said Frazier, a former Oakley councilman. "I just can't wait to start."
Republican Frank Bigelow's swearing-in marks the start of a battle by the lifelong rancher and Madera County supervisor to alter a Legislature that he says "can't keep its word," an institution marked by "empty promises and failure to get the job done."
Bigelow will be easy to spot: Look for his cowboy hat. "Where I go, the hat goes," he said.
Frazier and Bigelow are two of 39 new members to be sworn in today, the largest freshman class since 1966. Bigelow will be part of a Republican caucus that is outnumbered by Democrats by a 2-to-1 margin for the first time since the 1880s.
Democrats will control both legislative houses by a supermajority for the first time since 1883. The party holds 29 of 40 seats in the Senate, 55 of 80 in the Assembly.
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