California ‘Amber Alert’ creator, Board of Equalization chairman retires

George Runner, the 66-year-old representative for the Board of Equalization’s 1st District, which includes Santa Clarita, has announced his plans to retire from public service. Runner represented the Board of Equalization’s 1st District and its 9 million California residents since assuming the office in 2015. After being nominated as chairman of the board in March of this year, Runner termed out and did not seek re-election for the position this past November. “It’s been a real honor to have been chosen to represent the people of Santa Clarita over the years,” said Runner. “One thing I always appreciated about the people in Santa Clarita was that they allowed me and my late-wife (former-Assemblywoman Sharon Runner) to be their spokesperson in Sacramento. And for that I am so grateful.” Before holding the Board of Equalization 1st District office, Runner had represented the Board of Equalization’s 2nd District from 2011 to 2015. Runner had also served as a Republican member of the California State Assembly representing the 36th Assembly District from 1996 to 2002, and as a member of the California State Senate for the 17th Senate District from 2004 to 2010. He was also a member of the Lancaster City Council from 1992 to 1996, serving as the city’s mayor from 1995 to 1996. Runner said he was proud to have supported a number of local issues while working in the Legislature, including finding funding for the Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall and advocating for individual tax-paying residents. Also during his time as a member of the Assembly, Runner helped author California’s AMBER Alert system in 2002. The system is designed to allow law enforcement officials to send out emergency bulletins immediately over TV, radio and freeway message signs throughout California describing the victim, the suspect and the vehicle. Then in 2006, Runner worked alongside his late-wife, then-Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, to co-author Proposition 83. Also known as California’s version of Jessica’s Law, the legislation established minimum mandatory sentencing for those convicted of engaging in sexual activity with a victim 14 years old or younger. “Public safety was always a priority for me, especially when it came to protecting children,” said Runner. “Over my career, I was proud to be helpful to and become friends with local enforcement.” Runner said that on Monday, the date his term is scheduled to expire, he plans to step away from public life and allow his 1st District Board of Equalization successor, Ted Gaines, to take the reins. “(The plan) is to do a lot of traveling, and visit a lot of friends and family,” said Runner. “It’ll be good to take a breather … I think it’s a good thing when people in public office take a step back and allow just-as-capable people to get their chance.”

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