“I’m pretty happy for being the low man on the totem pole to get the committees I got,’’ freshly minted state Sen. Scott Wilk was saying Wednesday, taking a few minutes from his holiday vacation to talk politics.
“Now, as a minority (Republican) member, it’s about trying to figure out where I can get ‘wins.’’’
Wilk, from the 21st District, which spans the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, earlier Wednesday announced his appointments as vice chair for the Senate’s Education and Agriculture committees.
He also was appointed a member of the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee and the Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Wilk said he had requested all but the education committee, but got a call from Senate Republican leader Jean Fuller of Bakersfield last week telling him that would be on his plate, too.
Wilk, formerly the Assemblyman from Santa Clarita’s 38th District, advanced to the state legislature’s upper chamber – where committee appointments are more seniority-driven than in the Assembly — by beating Democrat Johnathon Ervin.
In the Assembly, Wilk sat on committees for budget; governmental organization; business and professions; and privacy and consumer protection committees, as well as the Joint Committee on Arts.
He called the workload on the Education Committee “a heavy lift” – it meets every week, usually in four- to six-hour sessions — but a post he is looking forward to.
“There are lots of things we can do to improve student success,’’ he said.
“The crucial social divide today is between those who feel the core trends of the global, information-age economy as tailwinds at their backs and those who feel them as headwinds,’’ he added.
“Parents know that every child learns differently, and that’s why one-size-fits-all public sector education isn’t working. We must stand up for equal opportunity in education by giving every parent the right to choose the best school for their child.”
Wilk’s previous education experience comes from serving six years on the board of the Santa Clarita Community College District.
On the Agriculture Committee, Wilk said, “California agriculture not only feeds millions of people across the country and globe, but is a $50 billion home-grown industry.
“Despite its importance, agriculture has been ignored by Sacramento policymakers. My pledge is to continue to advocate for increased water storage, fight to reduce burdensome regulations and push for open markets so our great farmers, ranchers, and business owners can thrive.”
Speaking with The Signal, called the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee – which handles all manner of licensing in the state – a “fascinating” post that he will particularly relish.
“You get to play King Solomon every week,” he joked.
And on his Veterans Affairs Committee post, he said, “I can’t think of a Senate District that has more veterans than the 21st.’’