Election Endorsements

Endorsement: Assemblyman Ken Cooley should get a second term

Assemblyman Ken Cooley has served his Rancho Cordova-area district well and deserves a second term.

Cooley, a Democrat, is running against longtime legislative aide Doug Haaland, a Republican.

Haaland, 62, is knowledgeable about the Legislature, having spent 27 years in various jobs inside the Capitol, and promises to bring more accountability to the Assembly.

But Cooley, 61, a lawyer, also is steeped in the ways of the Legislature, having worked for years as a staffer focusing on banking issues.

Cooley, who won a close election in 2012, says he hopes to change the dynamics of the Legislature and build friendships without regard to partisanship. Toward this end, he ought to embrace Haaland’s call for greater oversight by the Legislature.

Cooley has gone against Democratic orthodoxy by opposing Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan for high-speed rail. He also opposes Brown’s concept of the twin tunnels to move water past the Delta to farms and residents to the south, though he supports the $7.5 billion water bond on the Nov. 4 ballot, Proposition 1.

Cooley successfully carried legislation intended to reduce head injuries and concussions among high school football players, and pushed through a bill to gain refunds of more than $1 million to property owners mistakenly taxed in the Metropolitan Fire District.

He has used his clout, winning a special exemption for a for-profit college in his district from new regulation, to the dismay of fellow Democrats who are concerned about graduation and loan default rates among students at for-profit colleges.

Reflecting his voter base, Cooley has been a strong vote for public employees and their pensions. He ought to consider the cost of pensions, however, and be open to finding ways to trim the cost of public employee benefits.

Haaland is a worthy challenger. But on balance Cooley, a former Rancho Cordova mayor, has done nothing to disqualify himself from a second term.