Rodney J. Blonien, a Capitol lobbyist for gambling interests who previously oversaw expansion of state prisons as a top Deukmejian administration official, died March 13 of an apparent heart attack at his Elk Grove home, his family said. He was 65.
Mr. Blonien was well-known at the Capitol as a public servant and lobbyist for 40 years. He started as a deputy attorney general in 1972 and was assistant legal affairs secretary to Gov. Ronald Reagan. He was a senior assistant to Attorney General George Deukmejian.
After Deukmejian was elected governor in 1982, Mr. Blonien served two years as the governor's liaison to the Legislature. He was appointed undersecretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency in 1984 to direct construction of new state prisons.
Since 1987, he worked as a top lobbyist for the horse-racing industry, card club owners and other groups. He opened his own firm, Rodney J. Blonien and Associates, in 1997. He previously lobbied for law-enforcement workers as executive director of the California Peace Officers Association from 1975 to 1979.
Mr. Blonien was born in 1946 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. He graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1968 and earned a law degree from Santa Clara University in 1971.
He married his wife, Noreen, in 1967 and had lived in Elk Grove since 1974. He was a captain in the Army Reserve.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his sons, Ryan of Longview, Wash., and Jarhett of Elk Grove; daughters, Jessica of Sacramento and Molly Bisbiglia of Carmichael; sister, Jane of San Francisco; brother, Scott of Tenino, Wash.; and 11 grandchildren.
A funeral Mass was held March 16. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Bishop Gallegos Maternity Home, www.bgmh.org; Jesuit High School Scholarship Endowment Fund, www.jesuithighschool.org; or Project R.I.D.E., www.projectride.org.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Robert D. Dávila
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.