Fabian Núñez

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For Chilean footballer, see Fabián Núñez Cortés.
Fabian Núñez
65th Speaker of the California State Assembly
In office
February 9, 2004 – May 13, 2008
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Preceded by Herb Wesson
Succeeded by Karen Bass
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 46th district
In office
December 2, 2002 – November 30, 2008
Preceded by Gil Cedillo
Succeeded by John Pérez
Personal details
Born (1966-12-27) December 27, 1966 (age 50)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Pitzer College(B.A.)
Profession Politician

Fabian Núñez (Fabián Núñez, Fabian Nuñez and less commonly Fabian Nunez) (born December 27, 1966) is a labor union adviser and Democratic politician. He served three two-year terms as a member of the State Assembly, leaving office in late 2008. During his last two terms, Nunez was the Assembly Speaker, the 66th person to hold that position.


Prior to elective official[edit]

From 1996 to 2000, Fabian Núñez served as the Political Director for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and, between 2000–2002, was the Government Affairs Director for the Los Angeles Unified School District.[1][2]

As an elected official[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.[3]

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."[4] 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."[5]

Throughout his term, Núñez authored several laws critical to the financial and environmental health of California including a $1.25 increase in the minimum wage,[6] and a measure to promote competition among cable television providers.[7]

In August 2005, Núñez traveled to Mexico to meet with the 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.[8][9] At the invitation of Nunez, president Fox eventually traveled to Sacramento and addressed a special joint session of the California State Legislature.[10]

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."[11]

Núñez passed a law in 2006 that will 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.[12] That same year, Núñez authored AB 32 that was signed into law by Governor Arnold 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.[13]

In 2007, Núñez was named "Public Official of the Year" by Governing Magazine. The magazine highlighted his legislative leadership and accomplishments:[14]

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." In 2009, Núñez was also listed as one of 2009's Top 100 Influential Leaders in the Hispanic U.S.[15]

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.[16] However, October 27, 2009, Political Blotter reported that the FPPC had cleared Núñez of all accusations.[17]

Post elected office[edit]

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.[18] In the election of February 5, 2008 the voters of California rejected Proposition 93.[19] He was succeeded by Karen Bass.[20]

Upon leaving office in 2008, the San Diego Union Tribune quoted Jamie Regalado, director of the Pat Brown Institute at the California State University, Los Angeles saying of Núñez' tenure as speaker, "In that sense, for many working families, for much of the state's poor, not only in his district, he has to be seen as a strong champion."[21]

After serving as speaker of the Assembly, Núñez was named as co-chair of the Hillary Clinton 2008 presidential bid.[22][23] In addition, Núñez joined a national bipartisan public strategy firm, Mercury as a partner managing the Sacramento and Los Angeles offices.[24] Núñez is also 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 Senate[26] but withdrew.[27] Núñez created a campaign finance committee and announced that he will run for California State Treasurer in 2014, when incumbent Bill Lockyer is termed out.[28] Nunez formed an exploratory committee for California State Treasurer in 2018.[29]

Death of Louis Santos[edit]

Main article: Death of Louis Santos

In December 2014, Núñez's son, Esteban Núñez, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the death of Louis Santos. Núñez, then California Assembly Speaker of the House, was a close friend and staunch political ally of then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.[30][31][32]

When Esteban Núñez was first arrested, Fabian Núñez's political influence was evident as many letters pleading for a reduction in his son's $2-million bail were sent to the San Diego County Superior Court.[33] One letter, on official stationery, came from Núñez's longtime friend, then Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; one letter came on official stationery from Maria Elena Durazo, head of the L.A. County Federation of Labor; one came from California Assembly Republican Leader Michael Villines; and was sent by California State Assemblyman Kevin de León.[33][34] His bail was reduced to $1 million.[35]

As a personal favor to “a friend”, just hours before he left office, and as one of his last official acts, Schwarzenegger commuted Núñez’s sentence by more than half, to seven years.[32][36][37] Subsequently, as a direct result of the way the commutation was handled, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bipartisan bill that allows offender's victims and their families to be notified at least 10 days notice for any commutations.[38] In April 2016, Esteban Núñez was released from Mule Creek State Prison after serving less than six years.[39] Fabian Núñez visited his son throughout his incarceration.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Núñez is the tenth of twelve children. He was born in San Diego, California to Mexican parents, but the family lived in Tijuana, Mexico (across the international border from San Diego) until Fabian was 7 years old. He spent the rest of his youth in Logan Heights, a San Diego neighborhood.[40] 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.[41][42]


  1. ^ Vogel, Nancy; Ingram, Carl. "Nunez Attracted to State Politics Early". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ Lawrence, Jill. "L.A. schools chief Romer refuses to walk away". USA Today. USA Today. 
  3. ^ "California Speaker Fabian Núñez Named To U.S. Soccer's Board of Directors". US Soccer. US Soccer. 
  4. ^ L.A.'s Nunez Is Formally Chosen Assembly Speaker, Los Angeles Times, January 09, 2004
  5. ^ Gov. Schwarzenegger to stay the courseSan Francisco Chronicle, October 18, 2006
  6. ^ SACRAMENTO / Minimum wage hike is now law / Governor signs bill -- Núñez at his side San Francisco Chronicle, September 13, 2006
  7. ^ Lifsher, Marc; Granelli, James S. "Cities May Lose Hold on Cable". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. 
  8. ^ Politics – Núñez meets with Mexico's president – sacbee.com
  9. ^ Mendel, Ed. "Speaker hopes to help image of Schwarzenegger". San Diego Union Tribune. San Diego Union Tribune. 
  10. ^ In Mexico, Núñez is forced to explain border comments | The San Diego Union-Tribune
  11. ^ Hertzberg: State Infrastructure Bond Results from Consensus-Building & Need The Planning Report, May 17, 2006
  12. ^ CALIFORNIA / 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
  13. ^ "Assembly Bill 32 Overview". California Environmental Protection Agency. California Environmental Protection Agency. 
  14. ^ 2007 Public Officials of the Year: Fabian Núñez GOVERNING
  15. ^ "Hon. Fabian Núñez". Mercury. Retrieved February 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  16. ^ Lopez, Steve (October 10, 2007). "Mr. Nuñez, who are you wining and dining? – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. 
  17. ^ FPPC clears Fabian Nunez of two complaints Political Blotter, October 27, 2009
  18. ^ A deceptive Prop. 93
  19. ^ Voters reject Prop. 93 on term limits
  20. ^ Official member list for the California State Assembly as of December 3, 2008
  21. ^ Ex-assembly speaker Núñez looks at options for his future San Diego Union Tribune, May 18, 2008
  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. Los Angeles Times. 
  24. ^ Honorable Fabian Núñez
  25. ^ "THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA" (PDF). University of California. University of California. 
  26. ^ Goldmacher, Shane. "Fabian Núñez files for state Senate". The Sacramento Bee. The Sacramento Bee. 
  27. ^ Join California-Election History for the State of California—Fabian Núñez
  28. ^ Ex-Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez eyes treasurer bid in 2014
  29. ^ "Candidates and Elected Officials". California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. 
  30. ^ "Judge: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's sentence cutting of Esteban Nunez was legal". Thereporter.com. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  31. ^ "Dan Walters: Schwarzenegger leaves a foul stench". Dailynews.com. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  32. ^ a b Dillon, Nancy (2016-04-11). "Calif. pol's son who killed college student out of prison". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  33. ^ a b c http://graphics.latimes.com/nunez-santos/
  34. ^ http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/government/when-dads-friends-write-letters/
  35. ^ http://www.10news.com/news/bail-reduced-for-man-accused-in-fatal-stabbing
  36. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/04/us/04pardon.html?_r=0
  37. ^ Lah, Kyung (2015-07-08). "Arnold Schwarzenegger's last act as governor follows him". CNN.com. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  38. ^ By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times (2011-10-04). "Gov. Jerry Brown signs notification bill on reducing sentences - latimes". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  39. ^ http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-esteban-nunez-released-from-prison-20160410-story.html
  40. ^ Sweeney, James. "Ex-assembly speaker Núñez looks at options for his future". UT San Diego. UT San Diego. 
  41. ^ "Pitzer College". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  42. ^ Bradley, Bill. "TAKING ON ARNOLD". LA Weekly. LA Weekly. 

Newspaper profiles[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Herb Wesson
Speaker of the California State Assembly
February 9, 2004 – May 13, 2008
Succeeded by
Karen Bass
Preceded by
Wilma Chan
State Assembly Majority Whip
December 2, 2002 – February 9, 2004
Succeeded by
Lloyd Levine
California Assembly
Preceded by
Gil Cedillo
California State Assemblymember, 46th District
December 2, 2002 – November 30, 2008
Succeeded by
John Pérez