League of California Cities Honors Three Legislators with Distinguished Legislative Leadership Award

Sep 23, 2021


Contact: Jill Oviatt
Cell: (916) 882-8656,  joviatt@calcities.org

Sacramento — The League of California Cities honored Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), and Sen. John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) today for their unwavering support and dedication to local communities with its Distinguished Legislative Leadership Award during Cal Cities’ Annual Conference and Expo.

“From their experience as city leaders, these legislators recognize the value of local government and introduced legislation to ensure cities have the tools they need to tackle today’s most pressing issues,” said Cal Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman. “Cal Cities is grateful for the collaborative relationship with these members of the legislature that will strengthen cities as vibrant places to live, work, and play.”

Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry and Sen. Gonzalez were authors of AB 14 and SB 4, two measures that will be instrumental in helping California cities close the digital divide. These bills create a sustainable funding source that local governments can use to continue to deploy broadband infrastructure in our communities. In addition, these two bills expand the eligibility for funding and improve speed standards, which will prove particularly helpful in underserved communities. These bills are currently on the Governor’s desk awaiting action. 

Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry brings years of local government service to her position in the Legislature. Prior to her election to the State Assembly in 2016, Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry served on the Winters City Council. During her tenure on the city council, she also represented the Sacramento Valley Division on the Cal Cities board of directors.

"It is a great thrill to be recognized by Cal Cities for our efforts of the past several years in pursuit of Internet for All,” said Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). “In partnership with Senator Gonzalez, and two dozen of our colleague coauthors of AB 14 and SB 4, we have highlighted the critical need to modernize our state’s broadband policy and programs.  

“In combination with the Budget Trailer Bill, SB 156, our State has made a generational commitment of $7.5 billion to guarantee internet connectivity for all Californians and their local governments, rural and urban.  Now the hard work of deployment begins, and as a former Mayor and current Chair of the Assembly Local Government Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues in local government to dismantle barriers to ensure our mutual constituents are digitally connected.”

Sen. Gonzalez is also no stranger to local government and served as a Long Beach City Council Member for five years prior to being elected to the Senate in 2019. Sen. Gonzalez served the city for a decade, both as an elected official and former staff member.

Sen. Laird has a long and distinguished track record as an advocate for the environment and began his career at the local level as a Santa Cruz mayor and council member. As a city official, Sen. Laird was a member of the Cal Cities Board of Directors.

This past year, Sen. Laird authored SB 619, a key piece of legislation for cities to help manage the implications of the state’s most recent organic waste recycling regulations. The bill would provide a one-year enforcement break for cities working to implement the regulations and is currently on the Governor’s desk awaiting action.

“I am honored to be recognized by Cal Cities – as it was a pleasure to collaborate with local leaders on the challenge of organic waste diversion,” said Sen. Laird. “Together, we kept on track with the program, got a one-year relief for fines and penalties, and secured a large amount of state funds to assist local governments in this effort. In the face of our climate crisis – we were able to work together by investing in green infrastructure, adding additional green jobs, and conserving our state's precious natural resources."

Sen. Laird was also instrumental in securing $60 million in the budget for grants for cities to help implement SB 1383, and $70 million for organics infrastructure.


Founded in 1898, the League of California Cities is an association of California city officials who work together to enhance their knowledge and skills, exchange information, and combine resources so that they may influence policy decisions that affect cities. Cal Cities’ mission is to expand and protect local control for cities through education and advocacy to enhance the quality of life for all Californians.