Sharon Runner pulled from Agriculture Board

Former Assemblywoman Sharon Runner has been appointed to the Unemployment Insurance Board, a job that pays more than $128,000 per year. Runner's appointment means she will not serve on the Agriculture Labor Relations Board, which she was originally appointed to last month.

"Sharon is a great public servant with experience in addressing the critical needs of Californians," said Schwarzenegger spokeswoman. "We feel she is better utilized in this position at this time."

Runner's appointment to the ALRB was vigorously opposed by the United Farm Workers. A posting on their Web site urged supporters to reject Runner as a "callous appointment that could put farm worker lives in jeopardy."

"She voted against every major protection for farm workers," said Giev Kashkooli, legislative and political director for the UFW. "She voted against water, shade for workers, minimum wage, drivers' licenses, making it easier to organize — she voted against all of them. She had no business being on the ALRB."

Runner, the wife of Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, is herself a former Assemblywoman. She is currently suffering from a rare lung ailment and is currently awaiting a double-lung transplant. Runner missed much of last year's legislative session because of her illness.

As a member of the UI Appeals Board, Runner will replace Fred Aguiar, who was named State and Consumer Services Agency after Rosario Marin was forced to resign earlier this month.

Runner will join some of her former Assembly colleagues on the board. Former Republican Assemblymembers Bonnie Garcia and George Plescia also serve on the board. Garcia was tapped by Schwarzenegger today to chair the board.

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