As throngs of fresh faces crowd the Assembly this term, a young legislative analyst from Los Angeles is eager to help usher in the new wave of California Republicans. For 35-year-old Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Hesperia, this is the first elected office he has ever held.
“It’s a terrifying and exhilarating experience at the same time,” he said. “[There are] so many new opportunities, but [there are] so many way in which you can get yourself in trouble.”
Adams defeated three other Republican candidates in the primaries and surpassed his Democrat opponent by nearly 20 points in order to replace termed-out Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy as the new representative of the 59th Assembly District.
A self-described military brat born in the Los Angeles suburb of Bellflower, Adams spent the first 10 years of his life in Southern California while his father was stationed at George Air Force Base. He spent the next four years in Denver, then moved to England for most of his teenage years, and finally returned to California when his father was re-stationed at George.
“[I] just kind of enjoyed that military Department of Defense life,” Adams said. “It was a good life growing up that way.”
Adams graduated from CSU San Bernardino with a bachelor’s degree in political science and kicked off his political career in 1996 as an intern for former-Assemblyman Keith Olberg. He was campaign manager during Bill Postmus’ bid for county supervisor in 1999 and became district director for Postmus after the election was won.
After three years with Postmus, Adams was brought in as an analyst for the Board of Supervisors and eventually was promoted to director of legislative affairs for the county, during which time he worked to bring in money for the county’s roads and infrastructure, as well as revamping water-usage fees and streamlining water-usage service for residents.
Adams survived a bruising primary that focused on issues of transportation, public safety and illegal immigration. Former opponent in the district’s primaries Christopher Lancaster was optimistic about Adams’ future. “There’s something that comes with youth: energy,” he said. But Lancaster said his district has real, pressing needs. “I hope he has the influence to get some of [the transportation bond] dollars earmarked for the San Gabriel Valley.”
Kevan Otto, who dropped out of the Assembly race early while simultaneously endorsing Lancaster, also had words of advice: “You’re starting to see more and more crime in the district and that’s a challenge that Anthony’s going to have to deal with.