John J. Benoit
A resident of Bermuda Dunes, his prior political experience includes election to the Desert Sands Unified School District Board of Education, service as a member of the California State Assembly, representing the 64th Assembly District, covering Riverside County, from December 2, 2002 to November 30, 2008, and service as a California State Senator from the 37th district from December 1, 2008 until November 30, 2009, when he resigned to become a Supervisor.
Personal life and career background
In 1978, he earned a B.S. degree from California State University, Los Angeles and then earned a Master of Public Administration from California State University, San Bernardino in 1993. In 1986, he graduated from the FBI National Academy.
Benoit's law enforcement career spanned 31 years including two with the Corona Police Department and twenty-nine with the California Highway Patrol. His CHP career included assignments in the Los Angeles basin (patrol, motor officer), Sacramento, Bakersfield, and finally Indio, where he was Area Commander from 1988 until his retirement in 2001. He also served as a Volunteer Fire Captain with the Sunset-Whitney Fire Department in Placer County from 1982 to 1984.
Benoit was elected and served as a member of the Desert Sands Unified School Board from 1999 to 2002. He has also served as a United Way Board member since 1989, serving two terms each as president and general campaign chairperson. He is a past-president of the Indio Rotary, and a parishioner of Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.
Benoit, a retired California Highway Patrol Commander, was the first Senator with a full-time law enforcement background since former Riverside County Undersheriff Robert Presley, who retired in 1994. Benoit introduced legislation to create criminal penalties for smuggling or possessing cell phones in State prison facilities. He introduced RJ's Law, a proposal to randomly drug test welfare recipients.
Rankings, awards and recognition
As a result of his efforts to improve education, Benoit was named 2003 Outstanding Legislator of the Year by the California School Boards Association. He has received a 100% legislative vote rating by the California Chamber of Commerce (2005), California Taxpayers Association (2004), California Farm Bureau Federation (2006), and California Manufacturers and Technology Association (2005). In 2007, he was named Legislator of the Year by the California Rifle & Pistol Association and by the California Narcotics Officers' Association.
Benoit was first elected to the State Assembly in 2002, with 63% of the vote, defeating Democrat Robert Melsh. He was re-elected in 2004 with 61%, again defeating Melsh. 2006 marked Benoit's final election, due to term limits, to the State Assembly, defeating Democrat Paul Rasso with 60% of the vote. On June 3, 2008, Assemblyman Benoit defeated former Assemblymember Russ Bogh by over twenty-four percentage points, to capture the Republican nomination for the 37th State Senate District. He won election to the State Senate on November 4, 2008, defeating Democratic candidate Arthur Bravo Guerrero, 55%-45%.
- U.S. Public Records Index, Vols 1 & 2 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
- Official Supervisorial web site
- Official Campaign web site
- "Fastest Lane" Press-Enterprise profile (reg. req’d)
|California State Assemblyman, 64th District
December 2, 2002 – November 30, 2008
|California State Senator, 37th District
December 1, 2008 – November 30, 2009