Ken Cooley

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Ken Cooley
Ken Cooley.jpg
California State Assembly District 8
In office
December 3, 2012-present
Term ends
December 1, 2014
Years in position 2
Base salary$90,526/year
Per diem$141.86/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limits12 years
Bachelor'sUniversity of California, Berkeley (1977)
J.D.McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific (1984)
Office website
Campaign website
Ken Cooley is a Democratic member of the California State Assembly, representing District 8. He was first elected to the chamber in 2012.

Cooley formerly was a candidate for the 2011 special election to District 1 of the California State Senate.


Cooley earned his B.A. in Political Science from University of California Berkeley in 1977 and his J.D. from Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1984. His professional experience includes working as the mayor of Rancho Cordova since 2002. Cooley worked as a staff member for Assemblyman Louis J. Papan from 1977-1985. He went on to practice law for 3 years, until returning to the Assembly as Chief Counsel to the Assembly's Finance and Insurance Committee. From 1991 until his retirement in 2008, he worked as Legal Counsel for the State Farm Insurance Companies. At State Farm, he specialized in law and policy formation as it relates to homeowners, renter, drivers, and business operations. Since 2009 he has worked for the State Senate, serving as Principle Consultant to the Banking, Finance, and Insurance Committee. Cooley has lived in Rancho Cordova since 1977 with his wife Sydney. They have two sons.[1]

Committee assignments


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Cooley served on the following committees:

California Committee Assignments, 2013
Accountability and Administrative Review
Governmental Organization


Campaign themes


Cooley's 2011 special election campaign site emphasized several key policy positions and campaign themes:

  • Jobs: "I know this election is about jobs. Still, I see a more fundamental need. California needs what we’ve lost -- a Legislature known for problem-solving instead of personal attacks. As your Senator, I’ll work on jobs. But job creation will lag, and families will suffer, until our Legislature regains a reputation for productive work, including on-time State Budgets. I pledge myself to work daily on jobs and restoring the Legislature’s honor."
  • A Respected Leader: "I'm known statewide. Between 2004 and 2009, city officials from Modoc to Sacramento County helped me become the #2 officer for California’s League of Cities. I’m also a respected voice in the Capitol. In 2007 the Governor appointed me with Senate confirmation as Seismic Commissioner for California’s cities."
  • Budget: "My home and work have made conservative financial principles a lifetime habit. This common sense way for my Church bookkeeper wife and I to manage our home was refined, along with my finance analysis skills, during 18 years as Counsel to State Farm Insurance, one of America’s most conservative financial institutions. Finally, I know that when government honors its trust, everyone gains. Rancho Cordova, which has balanced every budget, with yearly surpluses, last year earned a higher credit rating, despite the recession!"



See also: California State Assembly elections, 2014

Elections for the office of California State Assembly will take place in 2014. A primary election took place June 3, 2014. The general election will be held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 7, 2014. Incumbent Ken Cooley (D) and Douglas Haaland (R) defeated Janice Marlae Bonser (L) in the blanket primary. Cooley will face Haaland in the general election.[2][3]

California State Assembly, District 8 Blanket Primary, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngKen Cooley Incumbent 51.8% 35,294
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDouglas Haaland 41.1% 28,049
     Libertarian Janice Marlae Bonser 7.1% 4,830
Total Votes 68,173


See also: California State Assembly elections, 2012

Cooley won election in the 2012 election for California State Assembly, District 8. He advanced past the June 5, 2012 blanket primary, defeating John Thomas Flynn (R), Barbara Ortega (R), Philip Tufi (R), and Janice Marlae Bonser (L). Cooley defeated Peter Tateishi (R) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[4][5]

California State Assembly, District 8, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngKen Cooley 54.3% 92,630
     Republican Peter Tateishi 45.7% 78,006
Total Votes 170,636
California State Assembly, District 8 Blanket Primary, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngKen Cooley 42.6% 33,034
     Republican John Thomas Flynn 6.3% 4,853
     Republican Barbara Ortega 20.1% 15,592
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngPeter Tateishi 23.5% 18,237
     Republican Philip Tufi 3.1% 2,424
     Libertarian Janice Marlae Bonser 4.3% 3,368
Total Votes 77,508


See also: State legislative special elections, 2011; California state legislative special elections, 2011

Cooley was defeated by Republican Ted Gaines in the January 4, 2011 special election to California State Senate District 1.[6]

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Cooley is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, Cooley raised a total of $4,176,258 during that time period. This information was last updated on September 13, 2013.[7]

Ken Cooley's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 California State Assembly, District 8 Won $4,121,680
2011 California State Senate, District 1 Defeated $16,599
2002 California State Assembly, District 10 Defeated $37,979
Grand Total Raised $4,176,258


Cooley won election to the California State Assembly in 2012. During that election cycle, Cooley raised a total of $4,121,680.
California State Assembly 2012 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Ken's campaign in 2012
California Democratic Party$3,129,494
Sacramento County Democratic Central Committee$125,000
Democratic Central Committee of Marin$55,000
Stanislaus County Democratic Central Committee$25,000
California Faculty Association$15,600
Total Raised in 2012$4,121,680
Source:Follow the Money

According to Follow the Money, the California Democratic Party’s top contributions were made to Cooley for the District 8 Assembly seat.[8] The California Democratic Party gave nearly $2.2 million to Cooley.[9][10]


See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in California

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of Arizona scorecards, email suggestions to

Please see our writing guidelines if you would like to add results from an individual scorecard to this legislator's profile.


In 2013, the California State Legislature was in session from December 3, 2012 to September 13, 2013.[11]


In 2012, the California State Legislature was in session from January 4 to August 31.[12]



In 2014, Cooley's endorsements include the following:[13]

  • California Association of Highway Patrolmen
  • Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs
  • American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) AFL-CIO
  • Sacramento Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • California Federation of Teachers, AFT AFL-CIO
  • SEIU California
  • California School Employees Association
  • California Democratic Party
  • Professional Engineers in California Government
  • Association of California State Supervisors
  • California Association of Professional Scientists
  • California State Retirees
  • Sacramento County Asian-Pacific Islander Democratic Club
  • Youth Connections Unlimited Sacramento

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Political offices
Preceded by
Mariko Yamada (D)
California State Assembly District 8
Succeeded by