Pavley seeks re-election against Michael Wissot

Democratic state assembly member looks poised to defeat challenger; Pep students work for both sides.
By Sarah Carrillo
News Assistant

California Assemblywoman Fran Pavley has done something her great-grandfather, three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, couldn’t do – she was elected. Now, Pavley is campaigning for re-election in the 41st district, which includes Malibu, against Republican Michael Wissot.

Pavley will be running for her second term in the Assembly. In her first term she was named “Freshman of the Year” by the California League of Conservation Voters and was the author of several bills, including the controversial AB 1493, a CO2 emissions bill that will implement a program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from passenger cars and light-duty trucks. The bill was opposed by groups including several automobile manufacturers and Wissot, but was signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis in July.

As the great-granddaughter of Bryan, Pavley has a family legacy of politics that she has continued by being the first and youngest mayor of Agoura Hills in 1982 and by joining the state Assembly. She also taught history and government at Chaparral Middle School in Moorpark for 25 years.

Pepperdine senior Damaris Hinojosa, a former student of Pavley’s, remembers her as a demanding and caring teacher.

“She pushed her kids to get the most of them, to not be satisfied with being average, but doing the extra work for the better grade,” Hinojosa said. “I saw her one time she came to a game last year, which really meant a lot to me. To see a teacher from the past, still supporting her students today, like she did back then, showed me that she’s proud of my accomplishments.”   

Although she is on a leave of absence from teaching, Pavley applies a similar attitude to politics.

“Because she used to be a teacher, she has a realist grip on problems in society,” said Pepperdine sophomore Dusty Farned, a volunteer for Pavley’s campaign. “She has insider experience. She’s not trying to fix the system from the outside.”

Pavley also said that being a teacher has given her insight into the educational system and has provided her with experience and knowledge that has been valuable for her work in legislation.

“The no. 1 priority as far as money for legislation is for public schools, so my background in education has been helpful,” Pavley said.

“As a member of the Assembly Education Committee, on-the-ground training (as a teacher) gives me a good perspective.”

In addition to the Assembly Education Committee, Pavley is also a member of many other committees including the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee, the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and the Assembly Select Committee on California Ports.

Her campaign has gained the support of many prominent individuals and organizations, including United States Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Gov. Gray Davis, Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca, the California State Firefighters' Association, the California Teachers Association, Pepperdine Young Democrats and the California National Organization for Women.

“She really represents Malibu and has a remarkable record,” said

Jessica Grounds, president of the Pepperdine Young Democrats club and intern at Pavley’s campaign office. “It’s fortunate that she’s in this area.”

If re-elected, Pavley said that she will spend her next term focused on quality-of-life, pollution and educational issues along with the state’s budget. This year there was a $23 billion deficit that had to be taken care of while balancing the budget and Pavley said that in the coming years she would like to spend money wisely and make sure that if programs have to be cut it will not hurt the state in the long run.

“She’s a shoe-in (for re-election),” said political science professor Dr. Stanley Moore. “This is a heavily Democratic district and she has done an exceptional job (in her previous term).”

While the 41st district, which includes Agoura, Calabasas, Encino, Malibu, Oak Park, Oxnard, Pacific Palisades, Port Hueneme, Santa Monica, Tarzana, Westlake Village and Woodland Hills, is considered a democratic district, Pavley's opponent Michael Wissot is not giving up.

“Michael Wissot is a dynamic young man and successful business leader who holds to conservative principles, but rejects the extremism that has hurt the Republican Party in recent years,” said Dr. John Jones, assistant Communication professor and adviser to the Pepperdine College Republicans club.      

According to his campaign Web site, Wissot was raised in Westlake Village and was a former aide to Sen. John McCain. For the past two years, Wissot has been the leader of, an Internet company that specializes in information-based services for patients and dental professionals. He also has a personal Web site on sports entertainment called

In addition to working with McCain, Wissot also served the Senate

Committee for Commerce, Science and Transportation and worked on legislative issues involving domestic commerce and the deregulation of the telecommunication industry.

Wissot used his background in sports marketing, which he gained while working for the San Francisco Giants and Baltimore Orioles, to help with legislation dealing with curbing corruption in professional boxing. He also has experience in public relations from a job at Hill and Knowlton in New York.

Wissot announced his candidacy in November 2001. He has gained support from California Secretary of State Bill Jones, former Los

Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, 2002 Republican gubernatorial nominee

Bill Simon, the California Republican League and others.

Like Pavley, Wissot said he hopes to help the state with issues like education and the environment. Both candidates said in their Web sites that in order to improve education class-sizes need to be reduced, teachers need to be paid competitive wages and more power needs to be given to the local school districts.

Regarding the environment, Wissot said he believes in “Common Sense

Environmentalism.” This basically means finding a balance between preserving the economy and the environment. Pavley said she believes “A strong economy is dependant on a healthy environment.”

Voting will take place Nov. 5 and potential voters can register up to 15 days before then. For more information, visit

Fact Box:

Assembly Facts:

*There are 80 members in the California State Assembly.

*In order for a bill to pass, it must earn at least 41 votes. In order

for the budget to pass, it must have 54 votes.

*Besides creating bills, another important job of the Assembly is to supervise the agencies of the government and make sure that the laws passed are implemented and interpreted correctly.  

Voting Facts:

The 18-24 age group makes up 5 percent of society and has the lowest voter turnout rate.

Assembly Glossary:

Adjournment Sine Die: Final adjournment of the Legislature, regular sessions of the Legislature and any special session not previously adjourned, are adjourned sine die at midnight on Nov. 30 of each even-numbered year.

Blue Pencil: The California Constitution grants the Governor "line item veto" authority to reduce or eliminate any item of appropriation in any bill including the Budget Bill. Years ago the Governor used an editor's blue pencil for the task.

COLA: Cost-of-living adjustment.

Digest: Prepared by the Legislative Counsel, it summarizes the effect of a proposed bill on current law. It appears on the first page of the printed bill.

Expunge: A motion by which an action taken in a floor session is deleted from the Daily Journal (for example, "Expunge the record").

First Reading: Each bill introduced must be read three times before final passage. The first reading of a bill occurs when it is introduced.

Grandfathering: When a preexisting situation is exempted from the requirements of a new law.

Hearing: A committee meeting convened for the purpose of gathering information on a subject or considering specific legislative measures.

Interim: The period of time between the end of a legislative year and the beginning of the next legislative year. The legislative year ends on August 31 in even-numbered years and in mid-September in odd-numbered years.

Joint Committee: A committee composed of equal numbers of Assembly Members and Senators.

Lay on the Table: A motion to temporarily postpone consideration of a matter before a committee or the house, such that the matter may later be brought up for consideration by a motion to "take from the table."

Majority Whip: One of the members of the majority party's leadership team in the Assembly or Senate; responsible for monitoring legislation and securing votes for legislation on the floor.

Nonfiscal Bill: A measure not having specified financial impact on the state and, therefore, not required to be heard in an Assembly or Senate fiscal committee as it moves through the legislative process. Nonfiscal bills are subject to different legislative calendar deadlines than fiscal bills.

Override: Enactment of a bill despite the Governor's veto, by a vote of two thirds of the members of each house (27 votes in the Senate and 54 votes in the Assembly).

Per Diem: (literally: per day) Daily living expense payment made to legislators when a house is in session.

Quorum: A simple majority of the membership of a committee or the

Assembly or Senate: the minimum number of legislators needed to begin conducting official business. The absence of a quorum is grounds for immediate adjournment of a committee hearing or floor session.

Referendum: The method, used by members of the public, by which a measure adopted by the Legislature may be submitted to the electorate for a vote. A referendum petition must be signed by electors equal in number to 5 percent of the votes for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election.

Session: The period during which the Legislature meets. The Legislature may meet in either regular or special (extraordinary) session.

Third House: Collective reference to lobbyists.

Urgency Measure: A bill affecting the public peace, health, or safety, containing an urgency clause, and requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. An urgency bill becomes effective immediately upon enactment.  

Voice Vote: A vote that requires only an oral "aye" or "no," with no official count taken. The presiding officer determines whether the "ayes" or "noes" carry.