Sen. Joel Anderson's annual Holiday Legislative Open House draws thousands of constituents
By Se Jeong Choi
It is a yearly event that draws people from East County and beyond, and this year was no different. California State Senator Joel Anderson’s annual Holiday Legislative Open House was held Dec. 10 at Toyota of El Cajon. Anderson invites his constituents and community members to his Holiday Legislative Open House every year to make himself available to hear their opinions.
“I’m grateful to the over 4,000 attendees who came to share their ideas to improve our government. 40-60 percent of the bills I introduce come from my constituents, and I look forward to bringing many of their great ideas to the Senate floor next year,” said Anderson.
Toyota of El Cajon’s large showroom was packed with his invited constituents, community leaders and partners who donated their time and service. A Christmas tree with colorful ornaments in the middle of the hall helped put attendees in the holiday spirit, and music from the East County Youth Symphony brightened up the mood. The irresistible smell of popcorn from Partnerships With Industry and the moist chocolate cakes from Corner Bakery attracted people over to the array of vendor tables filled with delicious free food provided by many local businesses and high school culinary arts programs.
At the photo area, Anderson made himself available all night for the attendees who wished to meet him and talk about their concerns and ideas. In addition, a separate table was set up to for Anderson’s staff to receive the constituents’ legislative ideas and requests for assistance with state agencies. A dozen of Anderson’s legislative interns were on hand to help connect constituents with resources such as DMV, Covered CA and unclaimed property with the State Controller’s office.
Upon their arrival, all attendees received a 2015 legislative update giving them the chance to look over Anderson’s legislative achievements. One of the bills that passed this year was SB 178 in which Anderson partnered with San Francisco’s democrat Senator, Mark Leno, to safeguard Californians’ electronic information by updating California privacy law to match the modern digital world. Wired magazine described SB 178 as the “Nation’s best digital privacy law.” This law will provide needed protection against warrantless government access to mobile devices, sensitive emails, text messages, digital documents, metadata, and location information.
Also, at the event, Anderson shared what his office has been busy with all year. In 2015, Anderson answered 22,044 constituent letters, graduated 221 interns from his award winning internship program, resolved 1,377 constituent issues with state agencies, attended 938 community events, and authored 23 bills that became law. Those who were unable to make it to the event in person but wish to contact Anderson can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 619-596-3136.