John’s Journal December 2023 Edition


Dear Friends,

Wishing you joyful holidays and warm season's greetings from the 17th District! I trust you've had a chance to visit and appreciate the stunning grandeur of the California coast as I did on this beautiful evening in San Luis Obispo County, but if you haven’t – you’ve still got a few weeks before the New Year. Although I’d recommend bringing a jacket because it will be a tad bit chilly out there! I hope you all have enjoyed some quality time with your loved ones this winter because, take it from me, every second truly matters.

This holiday season, a time for joyous celebration and reflection, has been particularly poignant for me this year as I bid farewell to my mother, Dorothy Jean Ofstedahl Laird. She recently passed away at the remarkable age of 99, leaving behind a legacy shaped by her experiences from Depression-Era South Dakota to teaching elementary school in California. She lived a long and rich life that revolved around her family and church. The impact she had on this world was immense, and I find myself missing her every day.

Below you will find more information on where we are in Sacramento and a few district highlights from this year. As we wrap up 2023, I just want to say thank you for entrusting me with representing you in the State Senate. It has been my honor to work with my team to advocate for progress here on the Central Coast, and we are nowhere near done yet. Until then, I am wishing you and your family a blissful rest of 2023!

Warm Regards,

Senator, 17th District



The legislature reconvenes on January 3rd and it will be a whirlwind of bill introductions for all 120 members both in the Assembly and State Senate. My team and I are hard at work vetting ideas for possible legislation going into the New Year. The process is extensive with staff oftentimes working with multiple stakeholders analyzing the policy implications for not just Californians, but specifically residents here in the 17th Senate District. The work of this state legislature also holds credence across the country; that’s why “As goes California, So goes the Nation” has become an aptly used quote to describe the innovation we see here in the Golden State. But we cannot rest on those laurels alone, especially given the projected deficits in our upcoming budget. 

The Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) recently estimated a $68 billion deficit impacting the state and our legislative leaders and Governor are taking serious heed. I look forward to working with Governor Newsom, Speaker Rivas, Pro Tem Atkins, and incoming Pro Tem McGuire on ways we can protect the fantastic work we have done for residents in California and the 17th District. As Chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, throughout my current Senate term, and as Assembly Budget Chair during the 2008 financial crisis, please know that I will work hard to ensure our money is used to the best of its ability on behalf of all Californians. 




Crisscrossing the district during 2023 was truly exhilarating, offering me a firsthand glimpse of the absolute best our state has to offer. Traveling four counties is no small feat, but it continues to be an incredible journey for which I want to express my sincere gratitude. To everyone I've had the pleasure of meeting this year, your experiences and stories have been nothing short of awe-inspiring. As we head into 2024, I eagerly anticipate witnessing more of the exceptional work within these communities. Thank you for all the hard work you do!


I cannot take all the credit for the work that gets done on a day to day basis. For that, I must thank my team for their diligence and commitment to public service! Here I am pictured with some of my Capitol and District staff on a hike in San Luis Obispo County.


Had an amazing evening at the 4th Annual Soup for a Cause in Watsonville with Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance. My role? Serving up their delicious hot and sour dumpling soup to our fantastic community!


Congratulations to The Wayfarer San Luis Obispo on a successful launch party in celebration of their grand opening. Team Laird was excited to join in the festivities!


At the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County’s Annual Food & Fund Drive Awards Dinner where I presented resolutions with Assemblymember Gail Pellerin to Ms. Loehr and Mr. Trowbridge for their work as hunger fighters!  


Great afternoon with Monterey Mayor Tyller Williamson in celebrating the 13th Annual Whalefest Monterey event. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a national treasure that must continue to be protected.


Wonderful speaking with the staff at Rebekah’s Children Services in Gilroy to hear about the amazing work they do for residents in our region when it comes to mental health services.


The Sinton family has lived and worked on Canyon Ranch for over six generations. It was absolutely breathtaking to see their property during the superbloom!


I was honored to receive a certificate of appreciation during the 4th Annual Red Dress & Outfit Fundraiser with World Outreach Services! Always a treat and honor to see my good friend Ms. Ella Ruthie Watts.


Forcing ourself to be happy is not always genuine or useful. Powerful words that resonated with me on my tour of Transitions-Mental Health Association in San Luis Obispo. 


Photo Credit: Tarmo Hunnula

Thrilled to join local and federal leaders in the official signing agreement for the Pajaro River Levee repairs. Let’s get this done! 


San Ardo is a hidden gem in the County of Monterey. Great to visit with Sup. Lopez to discuss the importance of this area with community members.


Congrats to the Soquel High Knights for their outstanding 28-7 win to become CIF 4-AA state champs!