SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement today on the passing of Greg Schmidt, former Secretary of the California State Senate.
“Today, we mourn the passing of a dear friend and former colleague, Greg Schmidt. Greg served as Secretary of the Senate under four Senate Pro Tems: Senators Lockyer, Burton, Perata, and Steinberg. He retired in 2014.
“While the Pro Tem leads the Senate, Greg was considered by many to be the father of the Senate. He put the ‘family’ in Senate family.
“Greg nurtured, schooled, and protected members and staff alike. Greg was a problem solver. He kept a steady hand on the tiller. Rarely did he get rattled.
“Greg was the highest ranking staffer in the Senate but he was always humble. He never forgot that all of us were just regular people serving the people of California.
“When he described his job he would say, ‘Some of us write the laws, but I just choose the carpet.’
“Under this humble persona was someone who was as well read as any person whoever worked in the Capitol.
“Greg was a history buff and had a bachelor’s degree from the University of Santa Clara and a Masters from UC Berkeley in medieval history. He could speak with authority about the sixth century or the Federalist papers.
“Greg began as a volunteer in Democratic politics with Bill Lockyer and worked his way up. He became the Chief Consultant to the Senate Judiciary Committee, handling judiciary and public safety issues – a huge workload. While Greg was not an attorney, he was well regarded for his analytical ability and writing skills.
“Greg did not seek the Secretary of the Senate position. Rather, he was pressed into service by Senator Lockyer when he became President Pro Tem. He learned on the job. Every Senator who becomes Pro Tem comes to understand with new respect the magnitude of the job and the job of the Secretary of the Senate.
“One of his enduring legacies in the Senate will be his bi-partisan approach to the management of the house. There was no question he was a Democrat, but the Rules Committee itself is the last remaining place where Democrat and Republican members work together literally off the same page and share information. In a political world, that is no small accomplishment.
“Greg Schmidt dedicated himself completely to the institution of the Senate and in doing so became an institution himself. Greg will always be remembered not only in the Senate chamber but in the Capitol.
“Greg is survived by his four children, Jeffrey, Karenna, John and Tom and many grandchildren. My condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones.”