Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen will not seek Cathleen Galgiani’s 5th Senate District seat in the fall because Olsen wants more time with her husband and three children, she announced Monday, her last day as Assembly minority leader.
Term limits in December will force Olsen, 41, from the Assembly seat she will have held for six years. She expects to seek another public office some day, with options ranging from Stanislaus County supervisor to California governor, she said, although following Sen. Tom Berryhill when he terms out of the 8th Senate District in 2018 might be the most logical next step.
She succeeded Berryhill when he left the 12th Assembly District in 2010, but the Olsen would have to move – likely from Riverbank to Oakdale or Turlock, she said – if she’s to do it again.
Olsen thinks there is enough Republican support to unseat Galgiani, D-Manteca, who is up for re-election in November. But by then, Olsen will have one child each in elementary, middle and high school, and “I look forward to being home more with my family,” she said Monday.
“Sen. Galgiani and I work well together,” Olsen said. “This was never personal. We pride ourselves on our ability to work together and get things done.
“I think I could have and would have won the race,” Olsen continued. “But again, family has to be my priority.”
My kids need me right now, more than a run against Cathleen Galgiani would allow.
Kristin Olsen, assemblywoman
Political observers have anticipated for months the prospect of a battle of undefeateds as Olsen weighed pros and cons of taking on Galgiani, whom she refers to as a friend. Both have extensive records of public service and neither has lost an election. And Olsen would not have to move.
“The decision to seek public office is never easy,” Galgiani said Monday in a statement. “Mrs. Olsen has served with distinction and I look forward to continuing to work together to address the many issues we both care so deeply about.”
Olsen had told the Los Angeles Times in November that GOP leaders, bowing to special-interest money, would not fund a race against Galgiani.
Olsen on Monday said, “Based on surveys and my own work ethic, I’m convinced I could have raised the resources necessary to win. But again, winning isn’t everything in life. It was an awfully hard decision, but it just wasn’t the right time.”
Galgiani was elected to the Senate in 2012. Left facing her re-election bid this year are Stockton Republicans Steven Davis, a businessman, and Derrick Hesselein, a police officer.
Those hoping to succeed Olsen include Republicans Bill Zoslocki, a Modesto councilman; Cindy Marks, a Modesto school board member; and Ripon’s Heath Flora, a firefighter and businessman; and Democrats Virginia Madueño, a businesswoman and former Riverbank mayor; and Harinder Grewal, a Turlock school board member.
Mrs. Olsen has served with distinction and I look forward to continuing to work together.
Cathleen Galgiani, senator
Olsen, whose family previously lived in Modesto, served five years on the Modesto City Council and directed marketing for California State University, Stanislaus, before her election to the Assembly in 2010. She became the first mother of young children to lead either party’s caucus in the Legislature when she ascended to Assembly minority speaker in July 2014, a post she handed over Monday to Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley.
Galgiani and Olsen had teamed last year with other Valley legislators Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, and Adam Gray, D-Merced, in a bipartisan bid to end the so-called negative bailout oddity that robbed Stanislaus County of $74 million in lost property tax revenue since 1979, a significant accomplishment that Olsen called “a testament to our positive working relationship.”
“I believe so strongly that our future can be brighter than our past if we have elected officials committed to crafting bipartisan solutions, instead of special interests,” Olsen said.
Garth Stapley: 209-578-2390