John Vasconcellos, a longtime Democratic lawmaker from Santa Clara who made headlines for backing medical marijuana and pressing for a commission to study self-esteem, died Saturday at his home in San Jose after a period of declining health. He was 82.
His assistant, Sonia Avitia, confirmed his death.
A native of San Jose, Vasconcellos received a law degree from the University of Santa Clara and began his career as an aide to former Gov. Pat Brown.
He was elected to the Assembly in 1966 and served 30 years before term limits forced him out. He then ran for the state Senate and served an addition eight years. He left Sacramento in 2004.