Sharon Runner

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Sharon Runner
SR medium shot color.jpg
Member of the California Senate
from the 21st district
Assumed office
March 19, 2015
Preceded by Steve Knight
Member of the California Senate
from the 17th district
In office
February 18, 2011 – December 3, 2012
Preceded by George Runner
Succeeded by Steve Knight (redistricted)
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 36th district
In office
December 2, 2002 – November 30, 2008
Preceded by George Runner
Succeeded by Steve Knight
Personal details
Born (1954-05-17) May 17, 1954 (age 61)
Los Angeles, California
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) George Runner
Residence Lancaster, California
Alma mater Antelope Valley College
Profession Businesswoman

Sharon Runner (born May 17, 1954) is a Republican California State Senator, who currently represents the 21st Senate District and previously represented the 17th Senate District from 2011 - 2012. She was also a member of the California State Assembly from 2002 to 2008, representing the 36th district. She is the wife of California State Board of Equalization Member George Runner. From 2004 to 2008, then-Senator George Runner and then-Assemblywoman Sharon Runner were the first husband and wife in California history to serve concurrently in the California State Legislature.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Los Angeles, California and raised in the Antelope Valley, Runner graduated from Antelope Valley High School and attended Antelope Valley College.[2]

Community involvement[edit]

In 1977, Sharon co-founded Desert Christian Schools with her husband, George Runner. It has since grown to become one of the largest private schools in California with nearly 1,700 students on three separate campuses.[3] She currently serves on the Board. Prior to Desert Christian Schools, Runner worked as a licensed realtor with Red Carpet Real Estate Company where she was named “Realtor of the Year.”[2]

She has volunteered her time on several boards and committees including the United Way, Antelope Valley Hospital Gift Foundation, Antelope Valley Crime Task Force, Healthy Homes Advisory Council, and Care Net, a pregnancy resource center. She also spent five years on the Board of Directors for the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce. In 1998, California Governor Pete Wilson appointed Runner to serve on the Antelope Valley Fair Board of Directors, where she oversaw the operations of the 50th Agriculture District and managed its multimillion dollar budget. She held this position until 2002.[4]

She has been involved with her church Grace Chapel Church in Lancaster for over 30 years.

Assembly career[edit]

In 2002, Runner was elected to represent the 36th Assembly District and served in the State Assembly for three terms, from 2002 to 2008.[2]

While in the Assembly she served on the Veteran's Committee; Housing Committee; Select Committees dealing with Foster Care; the Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse; as well as the Task Force on the Environment, Energy, and the Economy. She also held key fiscal leadership positions, serving as the Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee and as a member of the Budget Committee and Budget Subcommittee on Education.[2]

During her first term in office, Runner was appointed as Assistant Republican Leader by former Assembly Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.[2]

Jessica's Law[edit]

In 2006, along with her husband, Senator George Runner, Sharon Runner authored Proposition 83, California's version of Jessica's Law. The measure passed with the support of 71% of California voters, and passed in 57 of California's 58 counties.[5]

Jessica's Law ensures that all sexual offenders who are convicted of activity with children under the age of 14 are put into a prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years or 25 years to life. It eliminates all "first-offense" sexual offense provisions from California law.

It also eliminates all "good-time" credits for sexual offenders serving prison terms; under the authored provisions they are required to serve their entire sentence and will not be released for good behavior. The law requires that sex offenders who are released from prison wear a GPS bracelet for life.

It also creates a 2,000-foot (615 meter) zone around schools and parks in which registered sex offenders are prohibited from residing.

Political involvement[edit]

Runner was an officer for the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly and remains active in many Republican groups in the Antelope Valley, including the Palmdale and High Desert Republican Women's Clubs. She has served on the board of California Women Lead, a bi-partisan organization that encourages and empowers women running for public office.[6] She is currently serving as President of the board of California's Women's Leadership Association for 2011-12.[2]

During the 2004 Presidential election, Runner served as the California Women's Coalition Chair for the Bush/Cheney Campaign. She was chosen as a delegate to the 2000 and 2004 Republican National Conventions. She has worked on several statewide campaigns including Governor Pete Wilson, California Gubernatorial Recall Election, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Meg Whitman for Governor 2010.[2]

California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board[edit]

In 2009, Runner was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. She served on the board until December 22, 2010.[7]

Campaign for State Senate[edit]

Runner ran for election to the California State Senate, representing the 17th District. The seat was left vacant by her husband, George Runner, who was elected to the State Board of Equalization in November, 2010.[8] The primary election took place on February 15, 2011, she defeated Democrat Darren Parker 66%-34% to avoid a runoff.[9]

Scleroderma and Successful Lung Transplant[edit]

Runner was diagnosed with “Limited” Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease affecting her lungs, in 1984 at the age of 30. On February 24, 2012 Sharon underwent a successful double lung transplant at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.[10] She was released from the hospital ten days later.[11]

Dropped Out of Race for State Senate[edit]

To focus on her recovery, Runner decided not to seek re-election in the 2012 race for California Senate.[12]

Recovery and Return to Community Service[edit]

Runner is a member of the Scleroderma Foundation’s Legislative Committee where she works to obtain federal funding for Scleroderma research. She also sits on the Advisory Committee for Sierra Donor Services, a donor procurement organization in Sacramento, California.[13]

Runner works and connects regularly with lung transplant patients. In 2014 she was selected as a rider on the 11th annual Donate Life Rose Parade Float along with 29 other donor recipients.[14]

In 2013 Runner began working part-time for the California State Senate Republican Caucus conducting community outreach events.[15] She also runs “The Runner Group,” a public relations/marketing company she founded in 1994.[16]

Awards and Recognitions[edit]

In 2013, Runner was awarded the Marian Bergeson Lifetime Achievement Award for her work helping women run for office.[17]

In November 2014 Runner received the Spirit of Leadership Award by the Scleroderma Foundation of Southern California for her advocacy in increasing funding to find a cure for Scleroderma.[18]

2015 State Senate Candidacy[edit]

A special election for California's 21st Senate District, vacated by Steve Knight who was elected to Congress in November 2014, was held on March 17, 2015.[19] After a successful recruitment effort, Runner decided to enter the race.[20] She was the only candidate on the ballot, and easily won reelection to the Senate.[21] Runner was sworn into the State Senate on March 19th.


She married George Runner in 1973. They have a son, Micah, daughter-in-law, Sandy, daughter, Rebekah (who serves in the U.S. Coast Guard), son-in-law, James, and four grandchildren.[2]


  1. ^ "California Legislature Handbook 2007-2008" (PDF). California State Legislature. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "About Sharon Runner". Sharon Runner for State Senate. Retrieved January 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Our History". Desert Christian Schools. Retrieved January 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Past Directors of Antelope Valley Fair" (PDF). Antelope Valley Fair. Retrieved January 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ "CA Secretary of State - General Election". California Secretary of State. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  6. ^ "California Women Lead". California Women Lead. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  7. ^ "Sharon Runner, Board Member". State of California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. Retrieved January 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ "2010 General Elections Results - Board of Equalization" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  9. ^ "Senate District 17 - Special Election - Elections & Voter Information - California Secretary of State". California Secretary of State. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  10. ^ "State Sen. Sharon Runner has double lung transplant, will return to work, says husband". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 2014-12-31. 
  11. ^ "Sen. Sharon Runner goes home early after lung transplant". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-12-31. 
  12. ^ "Senator Sharon Runner won't seek re-election". Antelope Valley Press. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  13. ^ "Donate Life - Rose Parade Float - 2014 Rider - Sharon Runner". Donate Life. Retrieved 2014-12-31. 
  14. ^ "Donate Life California Sponsors Former State Senator Sharon Runner on 2014 Donate Life Rose Parade Float". Donate Life California. Retrieved 2014-12-31. 
  15. ^ "Senate Payroll - 2/28/2014" (PDF). California State Senate. Retrieved 2014-12-31. 
  16. ^ "State Senator Sharon Runner - 17th Senate District". State Council on Developmental Disabilities. Retrieved 2014-12-31. 
  17. ^ "Women of Character Awards Dinner". Laguna Niguel Republican Women Federated. Retrieved 2014-12-31. 
  18. ^ "Scleroderma Foundation Key to a Cure Gala". Scleroderma Foundation, Southern California Chapter. Retrieved 2014-12-31. 
  19. ^ "Governor Brown Issues Proclamation Declaring Special Elections For 7th, 21st and 35th Senate Districts". Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  20. ^ "Runner Confirms Bid for Knights Senate Seat". SCV News. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  21. ^ "Sharon Runner only candidate for California's 21st Senate District". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
George Runner
California State Assemblymember
36th District
December 2, 2002 – November 30, 2008
Succeeded by
Steve Knight
California State Senator
17th District
February 18, 2011 – December 3, 2012
Preceded by
Steve Knight
California State Senator
21st District
March 19, 2015 – present