LANCASTER– California State Senator Sharon Runner has announced that she will not seek re-election to the State Senate this November.
“Serving the people of our community over my lifetime has been an amazing blessing and I am so very thankful for their support throughout each of my elections and my tenure in office,” said Runner, in a statement issued Wednesday. “In the coming years, I will be working on behalf of the community that I love, but not in the role as an elected official.”
Runner, 57, is currently awaiting a lung transplant as a result of Limited Scleroderma, an auto-immune disease. Early last month, Runner announced she had been placed back on the lung transplant list and would be working away from the office because she was susceptible to infections.
In the news release issued Wednesday, Runner described her prognosis as “excellent” and said she expected to make a full a recovery, at which time she would complete her duties as a California State Senator before retiring from elected office to focus on business and philanthropic efforts.
During her almost eight years in the Legislature, Runner has served as part of caucus leadership, been the point person on the state budget in the Assembly and co-authored California’s version of Jessica’s Law, designed to punish sex offenders and reduce their ability to re-offend. The measure passed with the support of 71% of California voters in November of 2006.
“Sharon has been a wonderful leader for the people of California,” said Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff. “There are hundreds of local elected officials all over this state who consider her a mentor and friend.”
As President of California Women Lead, a statewide bi-partisan organization, Runner will continue to work with other California women in elected office to empower, energize and engage women to run for public office.
“The people of California owe Sharon a huge debt of gratitude for her service,” said Congressman and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. “She was a part of my leadership team when I was in Sacramento, but when I came to the Antelope Valley it was very clear who was in charge there.”
Senator Runner is married to Board of Equalization Member George Runner. They have two grown children and three grandchildren.
Both Sharon and George Runner are encouraging Assemblyman Steve Knight to seek the now open seat for State Senate in District 21.
(Information via press release from Sharon Runner for Senate.)
UPDATE: The LA Times reports Knight has already taken out papers to begin raising money for the 21st Senate District race.