Sam Blakeslee joins Gov. Schwarzenegger on lobbying trip to D.C.

Outgoing Assembly Minority Leader Sam Blakeslee has joined Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other legislative leaders known as the Gang of Five in a lobbying trip to the nation’s capital.

The bipartisan delegation is urging federal officials today to reimburse California for the costs of illegal immigrant prisoners, federally mandated Medi-Cal services, and other federal mandates.

In a press release, Blakeslee characterized the meetings as “both intense and very productive.” He did not elaborate.

California faces a $20 billion budget deficit.

Other members of “Big 5” include Speaker Karen Bass, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Senate Republican Leader Dennis Hollingsworth.

They met with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Republican members of the California Congressional Delegation.

Assembly Republicans yesterday chose Martin Garrick of Carlsbad to replace Blakeslee as minority leader.

-Bob Cuddy