Capitol Alert

California gambling interests welcome Rod Wright back to Sacramento

State Sen. Rod Wright, D-Baldwin Hills, speaks on the Senate floor in 2009.
State Sen. Rod Wright, D-Baldwin Hills, speaks on the Senate floor in 2009. Sacramento Bee file

He may have left the Capitol amid controversy last fall, but former state Sen. Rod Wright was welcomed back warmly on Thursday at an Internet poker conference hosted by Capitol Weekly.

Representatives from California’s gambling industries, who worked on several unsuccessful efforts to legalize online gaming when Wright was chair of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, crowded the Baldwin Hills Democrat, offering hugs and back slaps.

“It’s great to see you, and you are missed,” political strategist Jason Kinney said at the start of a panel he participated in with Wright.

His signature humor on display, Wright lapped up the laughter as he introduced himself to the crowd: “And I don’t represent anybody.”

Wright was convicted of eight felonies last year for lying about where he lived when he ran for office in 2008. He resigned from the Senate in September and served 71 minutes in jail.

Wright said he sometimes misses Sacramento, and he has returned a few times in recent months to work with formerly incarcerated people. But he’s also enjoying his more relaxed lifestyle, happy to no longer be flying back and forth to Los Angeles.

“I can’t believe I did this s— every week,” he said.

Alexei Koseff: (916) 321-5236, @akoseff

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