About Senator Pat Bates

Hi, I am Patricia C. Bates, but most everyone calls me Pat! It is my honor to serve you as your State Senator here in the 36th Senate District, a district I have known my entire life. Our family spent summers visiting Encinitas, California where my family still owns a home, and as a young adult, I chose to start my own family in then unincorporated Laguna Niguel.


I have had the honor of serving as a Mayor, a Councilwoman, a Supervisor, an Assemblywoman, and now a State Senator, but elected service came later for me than most. Growing up in Long Beach, I was inspired to serve my community by my uncle who served our country as a Commander at United States Naval Hospital. With his dedication to service in mind, I started my career as a social worker for the County of Los Angeles helping some of our most vulnerable neighbors get back on their feet.


During this time, I became a wife, a mother, and then a community volunteer before ever thinking of elected office. However, seeing the lack of concern by the County for unsafe roadways through our neighborhood, I led efforts to incorporate Laguna Niguel so that we could decide the best ways to make streets safer. With the successful effort, I earned four terms as the first Mayor of Laguna Niguel. 


Seeing an opportunity to do more for our region, in 1998 I ran for the State Assembly. I became one of only 20 women to serve in the 80 person Assembly during that term. In the 73rd Assembly District, I had my first opportunity to represent San Diego County. During this time, seeing a complete lack of 

women-led initiatives, I became the founding Chair of the Republicans Women’s Caucus and continued the work we began in 1994 when co-founded the California Women’s Leadership Association with five other amazing women.

Never one to back down from a challenge and with the great support of my husband John, I ran for and won a seat on the County Board of Supervisors in 2006 despite being outspent by $4 million by a self-funding opponent. This was one of the hardest fights of my career, but gave me the opportunity to work on issues at the county I most cared about including helping residents through the heartbreak of the 2008 economic downturn. 


As only the fourth woman to serve on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, I focused my efforts on helping families get back on their feet, protecting taxpayers from further government bailouts, increasing public safety, speeding up the completion of critical transportation infrastructure projects, and working to protect our coastal environment. Priorities of mine that I continue to focus on to this day.


In 2014, I was elected to serve as your State Senator. In the Senate, working hand in hand with our community, I have authored legislation every year to address our states ongoing and heartbreaking opioid epidemic including current legislation to provide greater education on the dangers of Fentanyl and Carfentanyl, some of the most dangerous drugs entering our state today.  

I took the approach of community building to Sacramento and was routinely commended for my ability to find bipartisan solutions. Government works best when people work together to find the best path forward for our constituents. I believe it is ever more important that we work together, not apart, to solve the needs of all Californians. For example, I recently authored legislation with Democrat Senator Toni Atkins (San Diego), to provide tax relief for the construction of a mental health facility for our Veterans on Camp Pendleton (SB 197).


Becoming the second woman ever to lead the caucus of either party in the State Senate, I have helped guide the fight to save Prop 13’s taxpayer protection, fought against the early release of violent offenders into our neighborhoods, and most recently, I have led the fight to repeal the new regressive Car and Gas Taxes that have unfairly punished everyone who depends on their car for work or school. California has a $16 billion budget surplus and these new and unnecessary taxes cost hardworking California families in our district upwards of $1000 a year.


Some of the legislation I am most proud to have written include SB 722 (2015) that would crack down on sex offenders who illegally tampered with their court mandated GPS tracking devices; SB 1323 that would enhance criminal penalties for criminals who distribute fentanyl and carfentanyl some of the most deadly opioids available today; and SB 1283 that would crack down on some of the most egregious owners of sober living homes that are currently taking advantage of people desperately in need of substance abuse assistance.


Hearing the stress put on our schools by bad one-size-fits-all Sacramento and special interest policies, I authored SB 1249 that would have fully restored the ability for schools to save money for a rainy day and have urged the Governor to release the available education funds for school improvements in our district that are ready to be started now. We must not wait to fix our school system.


As a native of Southern California, I am thrilled to continue my work representing our neighborhoods in Sacramento. Thank you for the opportunity to work with you.