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League of Women Voters of California
|Full Biography for Ken Cooley|
Ken Cooley and his wife Sydney have lived in the 10th Assembly District's community of Rancho Cordova for more than 20 years. They have two sons who grew up in Rancho Cordova and in its public schools.
Ken was born in Berkeley, California and grew up in San Francisco's East and South Bay communities of San Lorenzo, Hayward, and San Jose. After high school, Ken went to U.C. Berkeley where he graduated in 1977 with a BA in Political Science. In 1984, Ken graduated from the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law and was admitted to practice law that year.
Ken's first explored government service while at Cal through an internship to the Honorable Dianne Feinstein while she was President of the San Francisco City and County Board of Supervisors. That was followed by volunteer work in the fall of 1976 on San Francisco's United Democratic Campaigns and, in 1977, Assemblyman Lou Papan hired Ken as his top Capitol staff member. During Ken's eight years with Assemblyman Papan, Lou served in the House Leadership as Rules Chairman, first for Speaker Leo McCarthy and then Speaker Willie Brown. In 1985, Ken left the Assembly and began his law practice with a focus on real estate and housing as the California Land Title Association's Legislative Counsel.
During his CLTA tenure, Ken provided technical drafting help to legislation enhancing the duty of interspousal property disclosure under California's community property law, strengthening public disclosure of Mello-Roos financing arrangements, and revising California's condominium law. Then, in 1988, Ken was asked by Assemblyman Pat Johnston to return to the Assembly as its Chief Counsel in the Finance and Insurance Committee, which Pat chaired. Thereafter, Ken served the House until Assemblyman Johnston 's 1990 State Senate bid. As Chief Counsel to Assembly F & I, Ken was principal draftsman to a comprehensive 1990 rewrite of California's Savings and Loan law that cured numerous bad practices that had fueled that industry's 1980's collapse. Ken also guided California's adoption of the California Commodity Law of 1990. In the last decade, that measure has emerged as a frequently used tool of the California Department of Corporations to curb investment fraud by telemarketers and others.
Since 1991, Ken has used his strong public policy skills as Legal Counsel for State Farm Insurance Companies, focusing on law and public policy formation in California and nationally. He is State Farm's representative to the Insurance Regulatory Examiner Society Foundation Board as well as a member of the Insurance Advisory Committee to the RAND Institute for Civil Justice. Given a high reputation for strong scholarship and impartial analysis, RAND studies play key roles in many California policy debates, as for example in support of workers compensation reform.
Ken and Sydney are long-time members of Cordova Neighborhood Church (CNC), a congregation known for its strong community focus. CNC has numerous ongoing community programs Ken and Sydney assist with and support financially. These include a free community dinner for anyone desiring it on the last Friday of each month, weekly transformation of the CNC lot into a skate board park for area youth, and other youth programs that serve young kids and their families in low and moderate-income housing complexes in Rancho Cordova.
Ken is an Eagle Scout and former Scoutmaster. With both sons in college, Ken uses these skills now by organizing outings for area youth. In the last 4 years, these have been as varied as on-site camping for young children at a Rancho Cordova low-income housing complex, taking junior-high aged groups camping in the Sierras or down to Monterey Bay, and taking high-school youth to the Grand Canyon and Zion and Bryce Canyons in Southern Utah.
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