Capitol Weekly’s Top 100: Brian Rice

Brian Rice. Illustration by Chris Shary

39. Brian Rice

The California Professional Firefighters, headed by Brian Rice and representing 30,000 local firefighters across the state, is a potent political force in Sacramento. Firefighters tend to be well-paid, well-organized and politically savvy, and when pro-labor Democratic governors need a political assist – which is often – the CPF steps up. The outspoken Rice rose through the ranks and headed the Sacramento Local 522 for 12 years. He is no stranger to political fights, such as when he smacked President Trump, who said California’s wildfires were the result of flawed forestry management and threatened to withhold federal aid. Rice, in comments that drew national attention, denounced Trump’s statement as “disgraceful” and “uninformed political threat aimed squarely at the innocent victims.” A major goal of CPF, although it has drawn scant public attention, is the first-house passage of AB 40, which would cut the length of time that firefighters are required to wait in hospital hallways while emergency patients they’ve transported are being treated. The issue – firefighters call it “wall time” – has simmered for years. This year, it appears poised to emerge from the Legislature.

Updated Aug. 15, 2023

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