Capitol Alert

Get to know a freshman: Catharine Baker (VIDEO)

Assemblywoman Catherine Baker, R-Dublin, at her desk in the state capitol on Dec. 1, 2015.
Assemblywoman Catherine Baker, R-Dublin, at her desk in the state capitol on Dec. 1, 2015. Courtesy of California Assembly Republican Caucus

Nearly a third of the 2015-2016 California Legislature are first-term members. In this occasional series, The Bee introduces you to Sacramento’s newest lawmakers.

While she joins a Republican caucus perpetually beating back Democratic gun-control proposals, Assemblywoman Catharine Baker’s weapon of choice is not a firearm: she is a certified archery instructor.

“I’ll have to be part of the sportsman caucus,” Baker said. “Maybe we can put an event together.”

The Dublin Republican picked up the skill while helping out at a summer camp her daughter attended, signing on to oversee an activity other parents avoided.

“I just said `alright, put me where others aren’t volunteering,’” Baker said.

That habit of assuming unlikely roles has also helped drive Baker’s political career, most recently when she won an East Bay seat most political experts had put in the Democratic column.

But she hit her target with voters, championing opposition to Bay Area Rapid Transit strikes and emerging relatively unscathed from a June primary campaign that featured a bloody Democrat-on-Democrat fight. On Nov. 4, she carried a district that Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown won by 25 percentage points.

“This is a pretty centrist district,” Baker said, but “certainly blazing your own trail is something we have to do if you believe in something. I’m not going to change the way I am just because I’m surrounded in a community, maybe, by more Democrats.”

VIDEO: Baker talks about how the Bay Area Rapid Transit strikes affected her Assembly race.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.