Central Coast state Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, who chose not to run for re-election this year, will form a public policy “think tank,” he announced Wednesday.
He said the California Reform Institute will seek ways for polarized political parties to “work across the aisle for the good of the state.”
“As a state legislator for eight years, I saw firsthand how difficult it was to advance pragmatic, common-sense solutions to our state’s problems,” Blakeslee said in announcing the institute.
“There is no existing support system for leaders who are willing to work across the aisle for the good of the state,” he said. “The California Reform Institute will provide that infrastructure and occupy the space where cooperation and results can happen.”
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The seed money for the institute — $750,000 — will come from Charles Munger Jr., who supported California’s successful redistricting reform measures, Propositions 11 and 20.
In an ironic twist, it was that redistricting that remade Blakeslee’s district into one so heavily Democratic that he decided not to run again.
The latest registration figures from the California secretary of state show the 17th District to have 44.6 percent Democrats and 28.6 percent Republicans.
Blakeslee wrote in a news release that his institute is different from current “good government” and partisan think tanks “in that it will not craft unrealistic proposals that the Legislature will never pass.”
The institute, he wrote, “will create sound, innovative public policy that is both pragmatic and implementable” and “provide real, reliable data on current issues so resources will be available to policy makers as they are debating these issues and making decisions.”