|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2021
|Preceded by||Paul Cook|
|Constituency||8th district (2021–2023)|
23rd district (2023–present)
|Member of the California State Assembly|
from the 33rd district
December 1, 2014 – November 30, 2020
|Preceded by||Tim Donnelly|
|Succeeded by||Thurston Smith|
Jay Phillip Obernolte
August 18, 1970
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Residence(s)||Big Bear Lake, California, U.S.|
Jay Phillip Obernolte (// OH-bər-NOHL-tee; born August 18, 1970) is an American politician and businessman serving as the U.S. representative for California's 23rd district since 2021, when it was numbered as the 8th district. A Republican, he was previously a member of the California State Assembly representing the 33rd district. Before serving in the Assembly, Obernolte served on the city council and was the mayor of Big Bear Lake, California. He is the owner, president, and technical director of FarSight Studios, an American video game developer.
Early life and education
Obernolte was born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Fresno, California. He graduated as valedictorian of Edison/Computech High School in 1988. In 1992, he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and applied science from the California Institute of Technology and in 1997, he received his Master of Science in artificial intelligence from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2020, he was awarded a Doctorate in Public Administration from the California Baptist University with a dissertation on "Managing Budgetary Conflict Between the Executive and Legislative Branches of Government".
In 1990, Obernolte launched FarSight Studios, an independent developer and publisher of family-friendly video games. The company originally produced games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and as of 2023 develops for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Oculus, Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. Notable games the studio has developed include Color a Dinosaur, Game Party, Hotel for Dogs, The Pinball Arcade, and the Sega Genesis version of Action 52. FarSight Studios claims Sony, Microsoft, Google, and Apple among its clients and employs 25 workers.
In 2005, Obernolte was elected to the Big Bear City Airport Board, where he served for five years. He then served as president of the board for three years and as vice president for one year.
In 2010, Obernolte was elected to Big Bear City Council, where he served as mayor. He also served on the Big Bear Lake Fire Protection Board, as director of the Mojave Desert and on the Mountain Integrated Waste JPA Board, the Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority Board, and the League of California Cities Desert-Mountain Division.
Obernolte served as state assemblyman for California's 33rd State Assembly district, which encompasses a wide expanse of the High Desert (areas of the Mojave Desert), from the eastern fringes of the Los Angeles metropolitan area to the Nevada and Arizona borders, from 2014 to 2020. He was elected to Congress in 2020 to replace retiring Paul Cook as representative for California's 8th congressional district, which includes Mono County, Inyo County, and the majority of land mass in San Bernardino County.
California State Assembly
In January 2016, Obernolte was elected to serve on the California Legislative Technology and Innovation Caucus, which is co-chaired by Assembly members Ian Calderon and Evan Low. He also sat on the following committees: Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media as vice chair; Budget as vice chair; Appropriations; Budget Subcommittee 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation; Budget Subcommittee 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation; Utilities and Commerce; Joint Committee on Arts; and Joint Legislative Budget.
In 2016, Obernolte expressed concern over Frontier Communications's acquisition of Verizon's voice, video, data, and FiOS network, saying that the takeover "negatively affected" his constituents through poor landline telephone service.
In 2016, Obernolte introduced Assembly Bill 2341, which would provide San Bernardino and other rural counties with additional judges to resolve backlogged court systems. The bill would have shifted seats from Santa Clara and Alameda counties to the rural counties including San Bernardino, but died in the Senate Appropriations Committee without a hearing.
Obernolte said that Governor Jerry Brown's $179.45 billion budget proposal was "responsible", but expressed a preference for fixing existing programs over creating new ones. He also stated an interest in funding job skills training, improving the state's Denti-Cal program, repairing infrastructure, and working on the housing crisis. Obernolte pushed for lawmakers to limit long-term funding commitments and said the budget proposal did nothing to address the "state's out-of-control pension debts and retiree health care liabilities."
Obernolte authored Assembly Bill 1642, which would extend the deadlines to either pay the fire tax, which is a state fire prevention fee, or file a petition for redetermination from 30 days to 60 days. In July 2017, the fire fee was suspended as part of Assembly Bill 398. Obernolte opposed raising fire insurance costs, which is calculated by factors in the risk of wildfire, fuels, slope and road access for emergency vehicles.
Obernolte opposed increases in the minimum wage.
U.S. House of Representatives
In September 2019, after Paul Cook announced his retirement from California's 8th congressional district, Obernolte announced his candidacy. The district covers most of the High Desert of San Bernardino County and Mono and Inyo counties.
In the November 2020 election, Obernolte defeated Democratic nominee Chris Bubser with 56.1% of the vote to Bubser's 43.9%. Obernolte was sworn in to Congress on January 3, 2021, and appointed Freshman Class Representative to the House Republican Policy Committee.
|No party preference||Jeff Esmus||4,042||2.8|
|Republican||Justin David Whitehead||1,305||0.9|
|No party preference||J. Green (write-in)||11||0.0|
On January 6, 2021, Obernolte voted not to count Arizona's and Pennsylvania's electoral votes in the 2020 United States presidential election, citing unilateral changes to election law made in those states by the judiciary or executive branch rather than the state legislature. He also voted against impeaching Trump for inciting his supporters to attack the Capitol on January 6. Obernolte voted against the creation of the January 6 commission.
Obernolte's first pieces of legislation to pass the House concerned the enabling of technological advancement. His Fellowship and Traineeship for Early Career AI Researchers Act and Next Generation Computing Research and Development Act were included in the bipartisan H.R. 2225, the National Science Foundation (NSF) For the Future Act, and H.R. 3593, the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act respectively. His first standalone legislation, H.R. 3533, passed the House in September 2021. It establishes occupational series for federal positions in software development, software engineering, data science, and data management.
In February 2021, Obernolte voted against the resolution that stripped Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments for her incendiary and violent statements. In November 2021, he voted against censuring Representative Paul Gosar, who posted an edited video of himself violently attacking Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Biden.
In February 2021, Obernolte voted against the Equality Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to include new protections.
In June 2021, Obernolte voted to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
- Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
On July 19, 2022, Obernolte and 46 other Republican representatives voted for the Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify the right to same-sex marriage in federal law. He said, "As an ardent advocate for limited government, I do not feel that government should be empowered to dictate the terms of a marriage."
In 2022, Obernolte was one of 39 Republicans to vote for the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2022, an antitrust package that would crack down on corporations for anti-competitive behavior.
2014 California State Assembly election
Obernolte was endorsed by the California Republican Party, the San Bernardino County Republican party, the California Republican Assembly, The Press-Enterprise, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), San Bernardino County Safety Employee's Benefit Association (SEBA), the California Conservative Christians, and the Independent Voter Political Action Committee.
In the June primary, Obernolte finished second with 18.89% of the vote with 7,887 votes. He defeated Democrat John Coffey in the November general election with 65.9% of the vote.
|Republican||Jerry J. Laws||814||1.9|
|Republican||Robert J. "Bob" Burhle||802||1.9|
2016 California State Assembly election
In the June primary, Obernolte finished first with 60.7% of the vote with 43,526 votes. He defeated Democrat Scott Markovich in the November general election with 60.6% of the vote.
|Republican||Jay Obernolte (incumbent)||43,526||60.7|
|Republican||Jay Obernolte (incumbent)||84,000||60.6|
2018 California State Assembly election
|Republican||Jay Obernolte (incumbent)||43,100||65.8|
|Republican||Jay Obernolte (incumbent)||72,109||60.2|
2022 California Congressional election
|Republican||Jay Obernolte (incumbent)||57,988||60.9|
|Democratic||Bianca A. Gómez||16,516||17.3|
|Republican||Jay Obernolte (incumbent)||102,733||61.0%|
Obernolte holds an airline transport pilot's license. He is a certified flight instructor and has flown light aircraft since 2005. He worked with Embraer as a member on its Pilot Advisory Board during the development of the Phenom 300. Obernolte volunteers as a pilot with the Veterans Airlift Command and the Young Eagles.
- "JoinCalifornia - Jay Obernolte". www.joincalifornia.com. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
- Get to know a freshman: Jay Obernolte
- "Mayor Jay P. Obernolte – Biography". City of Big Bear Lake. Archived from the original on April 15, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- "Congressman Jay Obernolte - Heather & I officially donned our doctoral hoods yesterday for our COVID-delayed graduation ceremony. I earned my Doctorate in Public Administration last year with a dissertation on Managing Budgetary Conflict Between the Executive and Legislative Branches of Government. I also had the best "study buddy" on campus. Congratulations to graduates across CA's universities this year! | Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
- "FarSight Studios - Welcome". FarSightStudios.com. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
- "1993 - Action 52 - FarSight Studios". FarSightStudios.com. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
- "Game Companies: Farsight Studios". Game Faqs. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
- Johnson, Shea (February 11, 2014). "Big Bear mayor joins crowded race". Daily Press. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
- Johnson, Shea (October 22, 2014). "Top two in primary seek to succeed Donnelly in state Assembly". Daily Press. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- Bowers, Judy. "Campaign trail keeps candidates busy". Big Bear Grizzly. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- "JAYObernolte". Big Bear Lake. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
- Cassling, Steve (January 27, 2016). "Assemblymember Jay Obernolte Picked to be Part of Historic Tech Caucus". KBHR933. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- "COMMITTEES". California State Assembly. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
- "Assemblyman Obernolte blasts legislative shell game". Daily Press. April 29, 2016. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- Johnson, Shea (May 12, 2016). "Ahead of hearing, Obernolte seeks local input on Frontier takeover". Daily Press. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- "Obernolte bill addresses judge shortage". Lucerne Valley Leader. May 31, 2016. Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- Macduff, Cassie (August 12, 2016). "Cassie MacDuff: Another attempt to address Inland judge shortage goes down in flames". Press Enterprise. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
- "EDITORIAL: I.E. needs more judges". Press Enterprise. August 17, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
- "Obernolte opposes Becerra as AG". Daily Press. January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
- Johnson, Shea (January 10, 2017). "On proposed budget, Republicans urge long-term caution". Daily Press. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
- Koseff, Alexei (May 8, 2017). "Rolling bicycle stop bill pulled in California". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- Downing, Shane (May 10, 2017). "Flat Tire: 'California Roll' Bill Stalls In Assembly Committee Until 2018". Hoodline. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- "An act to amend Section 21200 of 21200 of, and to add and repeal Section 21200.1 of, the Vehicle Code, relating to bicycles". California Office of Legislative Counsel. February 17, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
- Casting, Steve (April 13, 2016). "Senator Morrell and Assemblyman Obernolte to Hold Fire Tax Town Halls in Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear". KBHR933. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- Johnson, Shea (July 26, 2017). "Obernolte lauds fire fee suspension, but not deal that made it happen". VV Daily Press. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
- Fron, Heidi (June 6, 2016). "Obernolte Fights Fire Insurance Increases". Mountain-News. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- Obernolte, Jay (April 4, 2016). "Minimum wage hike treats symptom, makes problem worse: Jay Obernolte". SB Sun. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- Metz, Sam. "Congressman Paul Cook to retire after end of fourth term; one of 17 Republicans who won't seek reelection". Desert Sun.
- "California Republican Rep. Paul Cook to retire from Congress, run for county supervisor seat". Los Angeles Times. September 17, 2019.
- "California's Paul Cook joins parade of House Republicans retiring". September 17, 2019.
- "9 candidates seek 8th Congressional District seat that includes San Bernardino County". February 18, 2020.
- Ryan Hagen, Republican Jay Obernolte wins 8th Congressional District; foe Chris Bubser concedes, San Bernardino Sun (November 10, 2021).
- Metz, Sam. "President Trump endorses Jay Obernolte, snubs Tim Donnelly in race to succeed Rep. Paul Cook". Desert Sun.
- Cruz, Rene Ray De La. "Trump takes to Twitter to endorse Obernolte for Congress". vvdailypress.com.
- November 3, 2020, General Election, Secretary of State of California.
- "Obernolte takes oath of office". Big Bear Grizzly.
- "Statement of Vote Presidential Primary Election March 3, 2020" (PDF). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 17, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
- "November 3, 2020, General Election – United States Representative" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
- "Rep. Obernolte statement on electoral count". Rep. Jay Obernolte Press Release. January 5, 2021.
- "To object or not to object? Here's where some local GOP House members stand on Electoral College vote". Orange County Register. January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
- "Roll Call 10". January 6, 2021.
- Trump second impeachment vote, New York Times, Weiyi Cai, Annie Daniel, Lazaro Gamio and Alicia Parlapiano, January 13, 2021. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
- Donna Cassata and Kevin Uhrmacher , How House Republicans voted on a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Washington Post (May 19, 2021).
- "Our critical infrastructure is vulnerable - better cyber security can fix it". Daily Bulletin. October 11, 2021.
- "H.R.2225 - National Science Foundation for the Future Act". Congress.gov.
- "H.R.3593 - Department of Energy Science for the Future Act". Congress.gov.
- "H.R. 3533 - To establish occupational series for Federal positions in software development, software engineering, data science, and data management, and for other purposes". Congress.gov.
- "Roll Call 25, H. Res. 72". Office of the Clerk, United States House of Representatives. February 4, 2021.
- Clare Foran, Daniella Diaz and Annie Grayer (February 4, 2021). "House votes to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from committee assignments". CNN. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
- Dispatch, The Columbus. "Representative Jay Obernolte". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
- "Here's every Republican who voted against the Equality Act". Metro Weekly. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
- Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (October 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden? Jay Obernoltem Republican representative for California's 8th district". Retrieved October 29, 2021.
- "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 49". Office of the Clerk, United States House of Representatives. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
- "Jay Obernolte". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved April 29, 2023.
- "Membership". Republican Study Committee. December 6, 2017. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
- "Homepage of Republican Governance Group". Republican Governance Group. December 14, 2019.
- Obernolte, Jay (June 24, 2022). "My statement on today's Supreme Court decision below". Twitter. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
- Schnell, Mychael (July 19, 2022). "These are the 47 House Republicans who voted for a bill protecting marriage equality". The Hill. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
- "California House Republicans, usually in step, split on same-sex marriage as November nears". July 29, 2022.
- "House passes antitrust bill that hikes M&A fees as larger efforts targeting tech have stalled". CNBC. September 29, 2022.
- "H.R. 3843: Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2022 -- House Vote #460 -- Sep 29, 2022".
- "H.Con.Res. 21: Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of … -- House Vote #136 -- Mar 8, 2023".
- "House Votes Down Bill Directing Removal of Troops From Syria". U.S. News & World Report. March 8, 2023. Archived from the original on April 4, 2023.
- "Party Endorsements". California GOP. Archived from the original on September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- Johnson, Shea (April 1, 2014). "Candidates building up war chests". Daily Press. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- "2014 Primary Election Endorsements". California Republican Assembly. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- "Editorial: Obernolte, Mayes and Steinorth for Assembly". The Press-Enterprise. August 15, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- Johnson, Shea (September 18, 2014). "Obernolte, Coffey make case at VVC forum". Daily Press. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- "ENDORSED ASSEMBLY CANDIDATES BY CHAPTER" (PDF). PORAC. Retrieved September 30, 2014.[permanent dead link]
- "SEBA endorsements". San Bernardino County Safety Employee's Benefit Association. Archived from the original on January 28, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- "The Christian Voter Guides 2014". Christian Citizens. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- "Jay Obernolte | AD 33". Independent Voter PAC. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- "2014 Statewide Primary Election". San Bernardino County Elections Office of the Registrar of Voters. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
- "Obernolte announces re-election campaign". Big Bear Grizzly. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
- Hagen, Ryan; Emerson, Sandra (June 7, 2016). "Election 2016: Obernolte leads Markovich in the 33rd Assembly District race". SB Sun. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- Neufeld, Michael (December 13, 2013). "Jay Olbernolte Re-Elected Mayor of Big Bear Lake". ROTW News. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- Johnson, Shea. "Donnelly's son urges donations, votes". Daily Press. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- George, Fred. "Embraer Phenom 300". 1 June 2013. Aviation Week. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- Velocci, Tony (October 7, 2014). "Phenom 300: One Hot Airplane". Forbes. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
- "The Racing Pilots". Racing Jets. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- Cox, Bill. "Twin Commander 1000: The Ultimate Turbine Commander". Plane and Pilot Mag. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- "Young Eagles 100+ Mission Pilots". Young Eagles. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- Fisher, Jerry (June 17, 2009). No Regrets: The Life of an American Martial Artist. Trafford Publishing. p. 294. ISBN 9781426935541. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
- "Faith on the Hill: The religious composition of the 118th Congress". Pew Research Center. Retrieved March 6, 2023.
- Representative Jay Obernolte official U.S. House website
- State Assembly website
- Jay Obernolte for Congress campaign website
- Jay Obernolte at Ballotpedia
- Appearances on C-SPAN