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Retiring Lawmaker: Sacramento’s Partisanship Too Frustrating to Serve

Republican California Sen. Bill Emmerson said frustration with Sacramento's political climate is what's driving him to resign at the end of the month — in the middle of his term.

Aired 11/18/13 on KPBS News.

A veteran California Republican is resigning from the state legislature at the end of the month. Senator Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet) says he’s frustrated with the partisanship at the Capitol and no longer has the energy for the job.

Sen. Emmerson's state website

Calif. Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet), left, takes the oath of office in August 2010.

"It's a little more partisan. I've tried to do the things that I think builds consensus, and it's difficult, and I'm just ready to move on," Emmerson said.

Emmerson began his career as a legislative staffer in the 1970s — including the first year of Jerry Brown's first term as governor. Decades later, he was one of five Republican senators who tried to negotiate a budget deal with Brown. Emmerson called the failure of those 2011 talks one of his biggest frustrations.

"Some of his stakeholders didn't want to go as far as we wanted to, and some of our stakeholders wouldn't go to the other direction," Emmerson said.

Still, Emmerson said the governor has been "very successful in righting the ship in California." He has tougher words for the GOP, saying it must reconsider some of its positions or risk becoming a "very small" party.

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