Fabian Núñez

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Fabian Núñez
66th Speaker of the California State Assembly
In office
February 9, 2004 – May 13, 2008
Preceded byHerb Wesson
Succeeded byKaren Bass
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 46th district
In office
December 2, 2002 – November 30, 2008
Preceded byGil Cedillo
Succeeded byJohn Pérez
Personal details
Born (1966-12-27) December 27, 1966 (age 56)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materPitzer College (B.A.)

Fabian Núñez (also transcribed variously as Fabián Núñez, Fabian Nuñez and Fabian Nunez; born December 27, 1966) is an American politician and labor union adviser. A member of the Democratic Party, he served three two-year terms as a member of the California State Assembly, leaving office in late 2008. During his last two terms, Núñez served as the 66th Speaker of the California State Assembly.

Early life[edit]

Fabian Núñez is the tenth of twelve children. He was born in San Diego, California, to Mexican parents, but the family lived in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico until Núñez was 7 years old. He spent the rest of his youth in the Logan Heights neighborhood of San Diego.[1] His parents eventually became United States citizens. At the age of 31, Núñez earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in both political science and education from Pitzer College in Claremont, California.[2][3]

From 1996 to 2000, Fabian Núñez served as the Political Director for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and, between 2000 and 2002, was the Government Affairs Director for the Los Angeles Unified School District.[4][5]

California State Assembly[edit]

Núñez was elected to the California State Assembly to represent the 46th district in 2002. Later, on February 9, 2004 he was selected as the Speaker of the California Assembly.[6]

When Núñez was elected, the Los Angeles Times reported that he promised to "foster a spirit of bipartisanship in the Assembly ..." He was quoted saying, "We should reestablish this great legislative body as the house of ideas. And more importantly, we must work together for the benefit of all Californians."[6] During his tenure as speaker, the San Francisco Chronicle editorialized that the 2005/2006 "legislative session represented one of the most productive in recent memory."[7]

Throughout his term, Núñez authored several laws including a $1.25 increase in the minimum wage,[8] and a measure to promote competition among cable television providers.[9]

In August 2005, Núñez traveled to Mexico to meet with then-president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, other high level government officials, and business leaders. The declared purpose of his journey was to strengthen ties between Mexico and California that he claimed had deteriorated under California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.[10][11] At Núñez's invitation, president Fox eventually traveled to Sacramento and addressed a special joint session of the California State Legislature.[12]

Núñez supported and advocated for the passage of the 2006 infrastructure bonds. He authored both the education (Proposition 1B) and water levee bond (Proposition 1D) in the Legislature. Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg spoke about Núñez' involvement with the passage of the bonds on May 17, 2006: "And ultimately credit goes to Speaker Fabian Núñez, who is a very keen legislator who understands how to put the pieces and parts together and see the big picture. He was instrumental in taking what was failure last time and putting it all together this time. Fabian is willing to work with all sides and wants to get things done."[13]

Núñez passed a law in 2006 to establish a program to provide prescription drugs at discount prices to about five million uninsured and underinsured Californians. The new law will require the state department of Health Services to negotiate discounts with drug manufacturers.[14] In 2006, he also authored AB 32, which was signed into law by Schwarzenegger. AB 32 created the nation's first cap on greenhouse gas emissions. The law set new regulations on the amount of emissions utilities, refineries and manufacturing plants are allowed to release into the atmosphere.[15]

In 2007, Núñez was named "Public Official of the Year" by Governing Magazine. The magazine highlighted his legislative leadership and accomplishments:[16]

Fabian Núñez doesn't think compromise is a dirty word. California's Assembly speaker has played a classic legislative leadership role as the bridge between Republican governor and a strongly liberal majority Democratic caucus, helping to forge and shepherd through a long list of impressive legislation over the past couple of years.
His personal scorecard includes a $40 billion infrastructure bond package, a $7 billion prison building and rehabilitation measure, and a landmark global-warming law that is already being imitated by other states. "Some people feel you can't compromise because you're setting your values aside," he continues. "I believe the opposite. You're fighting for your beliefs when you can move the ball forward."[17]

On October 10, 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported that Núñez had allegedly spent tens of thousands of dollars of campaign money for personal expenses.[18] However, October 27, 2009, Political Blotter reported that the FPPC had cleared Núñez of all accusations.[19]

Due to term limits, Núñez had to retire from the Assembly after 2008. Starting in fall 2007, he actively campaigned in support of a statewide proposition to amend the term limits law, including being made eligible to serve an additional six years as speaker. This ballot measure, California Proposition 93 (2008), was widely seen as a power grab on the part of Núñez and Senate Majority Leader Don Perata.[20] On February 5, 2008 election, a majority of California voters rejected Proposition 93.[21] Núñez was succeeded by Karen Bass.

After serving as speaker of the Assembly, Núñez was named as co-chair of the Hillary Clinton 2008 presidential bid.[22][23] He joined a national bipartisan public strategy firm, Mercury, as a partner managing the Sacramento and Los Angeles offices.[24] Núñez also serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S Soccer Federation and previously serviced on the University of California Board of Regents.[25]

In 2010, Núñez filed paperwork to run for the California State Senate[26] but withdrew.[27] Núñez created a campaign finance committee and announced that he would run for California State Treasurer in 2014, when incumbent Bill Lockyer was termed out.[28] Núñez formed an exploratory committee for California State Treasurer in 2018.[29]

Núñez is currently a partner at the public relations and lobbying firm Actum.[30]


  1. ^ Sweeney, James. "Ex-assembly speaker Núñez looks at options for his future". UT San Diego. UT San Diego.
  2. ^ "Pitzer College". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  3. ^ Bradley, Bill. "TAKING ON ARNOLD". LAWeekly.com. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  4. ^ Vogel, Nancy; Ingram, Carl (November 21, 2003). "Nunez Attracted to State Politics Early". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Lawrence, Jill. "L.A. schools chief Romer refuses to walk away". USA Today. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Vogel, Nancy (January 9, 2004). "L.A.'s Nunez Is Formally Chosen Assembly Speaker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  7. ^ "Gov. Schwarzenegger to stay the course", San Francisco Chronicle, October 18, 2006.
  8. ^ Minimum wage hike is now law/Governor signs bill -- Núñez at his side, San Francisco Chronicle, September 13, 2006.
  9. ^ Lifsher, Marc; Granelli, James S. (June 28, 2006). "Cities May Lose Hold on Cable". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ "Politics – Núñez meets with Mexico's president". sacbee.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2008. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  11. ^ Mendel, Ed. "Speaker hopes to help image of Schwarzenegger". sandiegouniontribune.com. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  12. ^ In Mexico, Núñez is forced to explain border comments, The San Diego Union-Tribune; accessed May 6, 2017.
  13. ^ Hertzberg: State Infrastructure Bond Results from Consensus-Building & Need, The Planning Report, May 17, 2006.
  14. ^ "New laws to change lives at basic level: Many Californians will notice changes as legislators' efforts come to fruition on Monday", San Francisco Chronicle, December 29, 2006.
  15. ^ "Assembly Bill 32 Overview". arb.ca.gov. California Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  16. ^ 2007 Fabian Núñez profile, governing.com; accessed May 6, 2017.
  17. ^ "Hon. Fabian Núñez". mercuryllc.com. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  18. ^ Lopez, Steve (October 10, 2007). "Mr. Nuñez, who are you wining and dining?". Los Angeles Times.
  19. ^ FPPC clears Núñez of two complaints Archived March 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, ibabuzz.com, October 27, 2009.
  20. ^ "A deceptive Prop. 93". sfgate.com. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  21. ^ "Voters rejecting Prop. 93 on term limits". sfgate.com. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  22. ^ Nunez to co- chair Clinton campaign Inside Bay Area, April 26, 2007.
  23. ^ Martelle, Scott. "State Speaker Nunez joins Clinton's campaign". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  24. ^ "Honorable Fabian Núñez". Archived from the original on December 21, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  25. ^ "University of California Board of Regents" (PDF). University of California. University of California. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  26. ^ Goldmacher, Shane (February 2009). "Fabian Núñez files for state Senate". The Sacramento Bee. The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  27. ^ Join California-Election History for the State of California—Fabian Núñez, joincalifornia.com; accessed May 6, 2017.
  28. ^ "Ex-Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez eyes treasurer bid in 2014". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on September 27, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  29. ^ "Candidates and Elected Officials". California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  30. ^ "Actum Statement". Actum. June 23, 2022.

Newspaper profiles[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the California State Assembly
February 9, 2004 – May 13, 2008
Succeeded by
Preceded by State Assembly Majority Whip
December 2, 2002 – February 9, 2004
Succeeded by
California Assembly
Preceded by California State Assemblymember, 46th District
December 2, 2002 – November 30, 2008
Succeeded by