Written by Brett Wilkins
Senator Scott Wilk is the newest California Senate GOP Caucus leader. Gaining the position via a unanimous vote in January 2021, the Senator from Santa Clarita has begun devising changes to the GOP caucus in hopes of making it “relevant” in the state capital again.
In his effort to revitalize the minority caucus in the Democratic stronghold, Wilk hopes to make the caucus more efficient by eliminating positions that were created thirty years ago, a time when Republicans controlled the Governor’s Chair. Wilk has mentioned the policy and budget staff, specifically calling them “irrelevant” to the caucus in their current place.
Besides eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, Wilk discussed with Signal reporters the caucus’ intention to work closely with the independent citizen’s commission that handles redistricting in California. The process of redistricting occurs roughly every ten years and looks to group together “communities of interest,” which the state constitution defines as “a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation.”
In order to ensure fair districting of communities, the California State Constitution also dictates that the “communities of interest shall not include relationships with political parties, incumbents, or political candidates.” Wilk told reporters that with the addition of three academics to the commission, “you’re going to see more fidelity to the Federal Voting Rights (Act) and state Voting Rights Act.”
With Republicans only holding nine seats in the California Senate, Caucus leader Wilk has been given the opportunity to rebuild the caucus from the ground up. Commenting on the party’s future, Wilk stated, “What we want to communicate outside of the building is more important than anything we do in the building.”
Since serving the 38th State Congressional District from 2012-2016 and the 21st State Senatorial District, Wilk has been responsible for creating the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, establishing the California Film Tax, as well as the Aerospace Tax Credit which brought Northrop Grumman to Palmdale on a $65 billion contract.
Currently, Wilk is backing two pieces of legislation in Sacramento. SB58 prohibits the Employment Development Department, which is in charge of unemployment claims in CA, from “including full Social Security numbers on correspondence by Oct. 1.”
The second piece of legislation backed by Wilk is SB520. The bill allows the public a second opportunity to review large projects approved over 30 years ago, halting construction until approved by the public again. In his statements to TheSignal, Wilk stated that he’s “feeling pressure” and “wants to be the guy who brings [the caucus] up.”
Due to California term limits, Wilk will finish his career in the California legislature in 2024, giving him three more years to reshape the caucus.