Anthony Portantino, who for the past six years has represented La Cañada Flintridge in the state Assembly, enters this holiday season with a new task: Figure out what to do next.
Portantino’s job ended officially on Dec. 1, when the new legislative year began. Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D- Silver Lake) now represents La Cañada, while new Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) represents other parts of Portantino’s old district.
At Zeli Coffee Bar in La Cañada on Tuesday, Portantino said that with his mother in his native New Jersey facing declining health and his youngest daughter, Bella, growing up, he's grateful for the chance to step back.
“I think the good news is I get to go home,” Portantino said. “My daughter is 11, and for six years of her life I’ve been out of the house. And I’ve only got one mom.”
Yet Portantino doesn’t plan on staying out of government for long, and is looking to find a position involving public policy and government reform.
“There are some local government organizations and academic institutions I’ve been talking to,” he said. “There’s been probably a dozen nonprofits that have asked me to be on their board. I’ve told them all the same thing, I have to decide what I’m going to do, to see what my time commitment is going to be.”
Portantino is an advisory member of the Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy board, and in January will join the La Cañada Chamber of Commerce board as a residential member.
When the opportunity arises, he may again seek elected office. State Sen. Carol Liu (D- La Canada Flintridge), his former colleague on the La Cañada Flintridge Council, will be forced out of the Legislature by term limits in 2016. Portantino briefly challenged her for the Democratic nomination to the seat this year, and his Portantino for Senate 2016 committee holds nearly $77,000, according to state records.
“I think there’s some more things we need to do in relation to the high schools and community colleges,” he said. “The Legislature still doesn’t comply with the California Public Records act... I think it’s important to have somebody that asks questions, that doesn’t just say yes to the leaders.
“I’m at peace with my decision [not to run for state Senate in 2012],” he said. “The district has been great to me, people have been very kind. Down the road I do have a passion to be involved.”