Biography

After four years of service in the State Assembly, Senator Joel Anderson was elected in 2010 to represent the citizens of San Diego and Riverside Counties in the thirty-sixth senate district.

When first elected to the Assembly, he promised his constituents, "I am not going to Sacramento to be a potted plant."

True to his word, Joel authored a landmark piece of legislation in his first year of service in the Assembly.

Assembly Bill 221 required the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the California State Teachers' Retirement System to divest from companies that violated federal law by doing business in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This legislation called for the divestment of over $24 billion of our public pensions from the Islamic Republic of Iran - the top exporter of terrorism throughout the world.

The bill sparked a national movement which led 28 other states and the United States Congress to introduce similar laws. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced to the world that he would sign AB 221 on the floor of the United Nations during his speech to the General Assembly.

AB 221 garnered national and international media coverage in over 300 articles in 13 countries. Media coverage included Time Magazine, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto," BBC, Bloomberg, The National Review, Le Monde (France), and The Jerusalem Post (Israel).

Assemblyman Anderson also appeared on "The Glenn Beck Show," where the show's celebrated conservative host said "(AB 221) sends a strong message that we as a country will not tolerate anyone assisting or profiting off a country that is actively plotting our deaths... I wish there were more people like you. Thank you, sir, for getting it."

To keep our roads safe, Joel authored legislation to make the Regional Transportation Management Center a 24/7 operation.

In recognition of the sacrifice that the men and women of our military have made in the protection of our freedoms, Joel passed AB 257 into law, which granted free state park passes to disabled veterans and recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Joel was also recognized with the 2007 "San Diego Psychiatric Society Legislative Award" for his "interest in, sensitivity to, and knowledge of mental health issues." 

Joel's success in 2007 led national talk radio host, Roger Hedgecock, to call Joel, "the greatest freshman Assemblyman from San Diego ever."

In 2008, Joel joined forces with the state's sheriffs and district attorneys to curb the rampant crime of metal theft. For his dedication, these groups named Joel their Legislator of the Year.

Joel's reach was felt on a wide array of issues; several other organizations recognized Joel for his key role as a watchdog on their cause. For his efforts to protect the Second Amendment, Joel was named the "2008 California Rifle & Pistol Association Legislator of the Year." He also fought hard to keep public land open for public use during his first term which earned him the "2008 California League of Off-Road Voters Legislator of the Year Award."

As one of their most successful alums in recent memory, Joel was awarded the "2008 Young Republican Federation of California's Legislator of the Year Award" for his tremendous record of success during his first term in the Legislature.

In 2009, Joel focused on fixing the state's economy and bringing jobs back to our great state. Many California businesses began leaving as the state began issuing IOUs. Joel responded by authoring AB 1506, which protects taxpayers from the state's "forced-borrowing" by requiring the state to accept its own IOUs for payment of state taxes and fees.

AB 1506 had 74 bi-partisan co-authors and received over 3,000 letters of support from taxpayers, labor unions, small businesses, elected officials including State Controller John Chiang.

Joel's efforts to protect small businesses and taxpayers earned him the "2009 Lakeside Chamber of Commerce Legislator of the Year Award" and the "2009 Pacific Water Quality Association's Legislator of the Year Award."

In recognition of his efforts on behalf of veterans and their families, in 2010 the California Branch of the American Legion, named Joel as their “Legislator of the Year.”

After being sworn in as the State Senator from California’s thirty-sixth Senate District, representing over 1,000,000 constituents, Senator Anderson affirmed his commitment to fight every day on behalf of those he represents. In 2011, for his efforts to protect small businesses during the great recession, Senator Anderson was named the “California State Senate Legislator of the Year” by the California Small Business Association and California Small Business Roundtable.

As a Senator, Joel was also recognized by the National Federation of Independent Business, who said “Joel has shown that he understands the challenges that small business owners on California face – we are proud that he has a 100% voting record with us and look forward to working with him in the future,” said John Kabateck, California Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

In 2012, as Vice-Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, Joel continued his work to protect crime victims by authoring Senate Bill 1371, which passed both the Senate and Assembly unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Brown.  SB 1371 closed a loophole in current law that allowed convicted criminals to get out of paying restitution to the victims of their crimes.

Joel is also Vice-Chair of  the Senate Health Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments.  He is also a member of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.

While Joel's accomplishments are many, the most important role in Joel's life is that of being a husband to his wife Kate for 25 years, and a father to their three children - Mary, Maura and Michael.