Our Opinion: Thanks Dave

September 26, 2001

The Imperial Valley should be sad to see Dave Kelley no longer representing it, and the state of California should be sad to see Dave Kelley no longer being a part of the legislative process.

Because of redistricting, the Assembly district made up of the Imperial Valley and much of the Coachella Valley that Kelley had represented no longer will contain Kelley's Idyllwild home after 2002. Kelley has decided to finish his term and retire rather than running in a district with voters generally unfamiliar with him.

Kelley is a veteran legislator, and was to be term-limited out after the end of any subsequent two-year stint in the Assembly, so Kelley basically is only giving up two years of a long and substantial career in state politics by retiring.

Kelley, a Republican, is highly thought of on both sides of the aisle in Sacramento. He is known to be a gentleman, not a demagogue and someone willing to work productively with people from the other party.


Kelley has been one of the most productive Republicans in the Democrat-controlled Legislature in recent years because the Democrats like him personally and respected him as a legislator. While he may not have been a shining star in the Legislature, he was a hard-working member both in the state Senate and in the Assembly. His current stint is his second in the Assembly after he was pushed out by term limits from the state Senate.

Kelley has represented Imperial County through much of his legislative career and has always been responsive to our needs. He has been accessible and made sure his local representatives were visible and tuned in to local issues. Kelley also was productive, bringing the fruits of his political skills to Imperial County on a regular basis.

We weren't always wild about his work on water and sometimes wondered whether he at times represented special interests on that issue, although he was in both state Senate and Assembly districts where there were competing water interests, so his job in that area was vexing.

Overall, though, Kelley did well for us in Imperial County without compromising the rest of the state. And being a farmer himself, he was keenly tuned in to many of our agricultural issues.

It appears our new representative will be a Democrat because the Democrats gerrymandered the redistricting process to set up a sure victory for the home team. It also appears that the district has been set up to have a Hispanic representative. Those might be good things for Imperial County considering the state's current political climate. We may get more delivered here and there certainly is nothing wrong with a Hispanic representing a majority Hispanic area.

That doesn't mean Dave Kelley hasn't done a fine job representing us.

Kelley still has more than a year to represent us and the rest of the voters in the district. During that time we expect him to be attentive, cordial, productive and a fine example for what politicians should be. If he is, he will be just like he's always been.

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