He ran the state’s insurance department. Now he wants to represent Sacramento in the state Senate


Former California Insurance Commissioner and Assemblyman Dave Jones announced last week that he is running to fill the Senate District 6 seat representing the Sacramento region when it opens in 2022.

The veteran California politician is the latest to join a crowded field of candidates vying for the seat that Democratic Sen. Richard Pan will vacate when he’s termed out next year. So far, seven candidates have filed statements of intention to run, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.

Candidates include several prominent Democrats, like Sacramento city council members Eric Guerra and Angelique Ashby and South Sacramento Pastor Tecoy Porter.

Jones, a Democrat, said he’ll stand out in the competitive field for his tenure running the state’s consumer protection agency and for his years of legislative experience while serving in the Assembly and Sacramento city council.

“I’ve had the privilege of serving in the state Legislature before and was successful in enacting legislation to address issues in the Sacramento area,” Jones said in a phone interview with The Sacramento Bee. “I believe I have the qualifications and experience necessary to use this office to effectively and successfully address the challenges Sacramento faces.”

Since leaving statewide office in 2019, Jones has focused on climate change solutions as the senior director of the Nature Conservancy and director of the Climate Risk Initiative at the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment at UC Berkeley.

If elected to be Sacramento’s next state senator, Jones pledged to continue the work battling environmental degradation in a state plagued by climate change.

“That means higher sea level rise, river flooding, wildfires, drought, and all the other physical impacts of climate change that are baked into the system that we have to contend with in California,” he said. “Certainly doing more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to trying to limit the extent to which the climate is going to change, but making sure we are adapting and building resilience into our communities for the inevitable extreme events.”

Jones also said his decades-long experience in California politics makes him well-equipped to address other state-specific issues, like expanding access to affordable housing and solving homelessness. In the Senate, Jones said he’d advance social, economic, racial and gender equity by expanding universal pre-school efforts and pursuing “universal health care through a single payer approach.”

As an Assembly member serving the Sacramento area from 2004-2010, he served on several committees and passed 70 bills, according to his campaign website. As insurance commissioner, Jones said he also helped implement the Affordable Care Act and protected consumers from $3 billion in premiums by regulating the industry.

“We have so many challenges,” Jones said. “What I bring to this is the ability to address all those priority areas and more because of my prior experience.”