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Wendy Mitchell wins new term on California Horse Racing Board in Senate revote

A woman pauses to look at a historical marker in front of the California Capitol in Sacramento.
The California Capitol in Sacramento.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

In a reversal from earlier this month, Wendy Mitchell was confirmed to a second term as a member of the California Horse Racing Board by the state Senate. On April 5, in a move that caught most by surprise, Mitchell was denied reappointment to the CHRB, the first time a governor’s appointment had been voted down in at least 20 years.

She lost that vote 21-16 despite being unanimously confirmed to fill a vacancy on the CHRB in September. Senators who voted against her privately said they were uncomfortable were her role as a political consultant. Mitchell, who has an extensive history working on state legislative matters, has run her own consulting firm since 2006. It specializes in the areas of budget, energy, land use and environmental policy.

There is a routine process that allows a board candidate to be reconsidered, which is why Mitchell got a second vote. Thursday’s revote was 23-7 in favor of her reappointment, with 10 abstentions. All the votes against Mitchell, a Democrat, were from Republicans.

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“I look forward to continuing the work I have already begun, to reform the horse racing industry in California for the benefit of the horses and all of the working people who rely on the industry to support their families,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell is considered the most reform-minded of the seven commissioners, although vice chairman Oscar Gonzales usually speaks for that side of the board.

At this month’s meeting, Mitchell, who is a vocal advocate for public comment, rebuked an animal rights activist for using a George Floyd allusion about the racing industry during public comment time.

Mitchell’s term will expire July 26, 2024.


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