Ken and his wife Sydney have been married for 41 years and have made the east Sacramento County community of Rancho Cordova their home since 1977. Both his sons live there with their wives and Ken's four grandchildren. Ken is a licensed attorney who graduated from McGeorge School of Law in 1984 and a 1977 graduate of U.C. Berkeley.
Mr. Cooley was elected to the California State Assembly in November, 2012 after serving ten years as a founding Councilman of Rancho Cordova and two terms as Mayor. In the State Assembly, Ken has distinguished himself as a collaborative leader, able to foster collegiality around moving big policy issues through the process and working toward re-establishing a more collegial tone for the whole institution.
A milestone of Mr. Cooley’s recent career is that after almost twenty years of no effective regulation of medical marijuana, Assemblyman Cooley’s leadership and collaboration with both Democrats and Republicans played an instrumental role in successful 2015 negotiations. This resulted in passage of an historic package of three bills to regulate the medical marijuana industry which were signed into law by Governor Brown last fall.
Assemblyman Cooley has also been a leader on government oversight and accountability, spearheading the development of a bi-partisan guide for use by committee chairs and vice-chairs when conducting legislative oversight. In doing so, committee members and staff will grow their institutional capacity to be effective as a co-equal branch of government alongside the Executive branch. This invaluable tool, distributed to all standing committee chairs and vice-chairs, aims to revitalize the legislative oversight function of policy committees and create greater governmental transparency of state agency operations.
As Chair of the Select Committee on Foster Care, Mr. Cooley has focused on increased visibility for the needs of children in the foster care system and those of their relative caregivers. He has held roundtable meetings with statewide leaders, conducted special legislative hearings, and introduced legislation every year to help address the unique challenges faced by foster children and those who support the foster care system. Importantly, he has been a strong and leading proponent of increased funding and access to foster care services.
Assemblyman Cooley is the presiding Chair of the Assembly Ethics Committee and the Chair of the Select Committee on Foster Care. He is also a member of the Committees on Governmental Organization, Insurance, Local Government, Rules, Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security, and serves on the Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Commission, as well as the California Commission of Economic Development. He also serves on the Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion, Select Committee on Civic Engagement, Select Committee on Local Emergency Preparedness, Select Committee on Homelessness and the Select Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education.