New Assemblywoman sworn in before election certified, but state Constitution allows it

Newly elected District 11 Assemblywoman Lori Wilson is given her oath of office by Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon, as her husband Chavares and sons, Tyler and Kiren, and daughter-in-law, Brittney look on Wednesday morning, April 6, 2022. Photo: CA State Assembly

Announced oath of office ceremony three hours before special election ended

Given committee assignments Thursday morning; will represent Antioch and Far East County until end of the year

By Allen D. Payton

Assemblywoman-elect Lori Wilson is the clear winner of Tuesday’s Special Election race for the 11th State Assembly District to fill the vacancy created when Jim Frazier resigned at the end of December with one year left in his term. Wilson was the only candidate on the ballot, but she faced an official write-in candidate, Erik Elness of Brentwood. The unofficial results show Wilson garnering 97% of the vote. But the election won’t be certified until Wednesday, April 14. She already had an office in the Capitol, according to the Assembly Daily File and an official Assembly website as of Wednesday evening.

Wilson also received her committee assignments Thursday morning.

Tuesday night at 5:12 p.m. her campaign sent out a press release announcing her oath of office the next day. Asked if that was premature since the polls didn’t close until 8:00 p.m. that night no response was received.

Email from Wilson’s campaign manager announcing her oath of office ceremony Wednesday morning. Redacted

Oath of Office Announcement

Assemblymembers list showing Wilson’s new office suite number and Capitol phone number on April 6 for April 7, 2022.

The following press release had the date of April 6 but included the words, “For Immediate Release”:

Lori D. Wilson to Be Sworn In as the 11th District’s New Assemblymember

Sacramento, CA – Lori D. Wilson will be sworn in today as the Assemblymember for the 11th Assembly District. The newly elected Assemblymember will be representing parts of Contra Costa, Sacramento and Solano Counties.

“Thank you to the voters of Assembly District 11 for your confidence and trust. I am deeply humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to serve our communities in the State Assembly,” expressed Assemblymember Wilson. “From constituents who need help with state services, to challenges like rising homelessness, climate change, and keeping our neighborhoods and communities safe, I promise to work every day to deliver results for our communities, and to be a relentless advocate for every person who lives in our district.”

The program will go as follows. Please see below for biographies of the program participants.

Prayer led by Dr. Claybon Lea

National Anthem sung by SSGT Godson Ryder

Pledge of Allegiance led by Madison Avila

Remarks by Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon

Remarks by Pastor Aritha Tomlinson

Oath of Office

Remarks by Assemblymember Lori Wilson

Dr. Claybon Lea is the Senior Pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Fairfield and Suisun City, CA where he has served since 1999. A widely known and highly sought after preacher, teacher, lecturer, and leader, Dr. Lea has been blessed to travel the world sharing his gifts to the glory of God. Additionally, he wrote his PhD dissertation on the “Hermeneutics of Archbishop Desmond Tutu” and is the author of the recently released book “Giant Lessons from David: Managing the Journey of Success”.

SSGT Godson Ryder was born in Florida, but raised in Saudi Arabia. He spent 8 years in the Air Force as an active duty member and the last 4 years in the Air Force reserves at Travis AFB, CA, where he is currently stationed. SSGT Ryder serves the great city of El Cerrito as a Peace Officer. He has been married to his beautiful wife, Erin, for 10 years.  They have two children, and God willing a third on the way.

Madison Avila is a Senior at Freedom High School in Oakley, CA and the current ASB President. She has participated in leadership all four years of her High School experience holding high positions as well as achieving a great GPA. Madison plans on attending a four-year University with a career goal of becoming an Anesthetist Nurse.

Pastor Aritha Tomlinson is a former Associate Pastor at Liberty Christian Center in Fairfield, CA. She oversaw Women’s Ministry, provided mentorship to women ministers, and was a part of the Pastoral Counseling team.  She is now enjoying retired life in Dallas, TX, spending time with her grandchildren, gardening, and staying fit.”

Sworn in at 11 AM Wednesday

Asked Wednesday evening if she was sworn in, general campaign manager Michael Terris, of Clean Sweep Campaigns, said, “she was sworn in. They did the swearing in ceremony at 11 am this morning. She has committee assignments and she’s off.

“Technically, I don’t know how that works. I think the speaker felt she would win,” he added.

Write-In Opponent Surprised

Asked for his thoughts about it, Elness responded, “Seems like there should be something illegal about that, before all the votes are even counted! What a disdain for the voice of the people! And truly, neither County knows how many votes there actually are because if a bunch of people voted and mailed their votes to be postmarked yesterday, those might not have even arrived yet. How do they know there aren’t several thousand more votes coming in?”

Wilson Explains Reason for Wednesday’s Oath of Office

Wilson takes her Oath of Office as her husband Chavares Wilson looks on. Photo: CA State Assembly

Asked how she could be given her oath of office before the election will be certified next Wednesday, Wilson said, “I don’t know the rules. So, I’ll give you the laymen’s. They called, shortly…at some point after I was the only candidate, this was definitely before the write-in candidate. They said, ‘since you’re the only candidate, we can get started with stuff, earlier in terms of getting you on-board,” Wilson explained. “They had given two dates, the 18th and the 6th, because they were on spring recess the 11th. They originally said the 18th at the beginning of the call, and they said they were concerned about the 18th because the 18th starts a series of a lots of legislation coming and just the timing of the season. It goes into six-weeks of very busyiness, lots of bills and you won’t have time, really to on-board with your staff nor do the trainings, because there’s a whole set of trainings you can do.”

“They said the other option is to get sworn in the 6th, because then we go straight into spring recess and then you can start hiring staff…you can actually be prepared to do all the votes that you’re going to have to do,” she added. “As they prepare for the May Revise (of the budget). I guess the 18th starts a six-week, non-stop bill period and so, they wanted me to be informed.”

“So, during spring recess, I’ll be training,” Wilson added with a laugh.

Asked what committee assignments she received, Wilson said, Accounting and Administrative Review, Appropriations and Finance, and Privacy and Consumer Protection. You’re the first to know. I just got the text.”

“I’m so thankful to the voters for sending me, here,” Wilson stated. “I’m thankful to be able to be here at such a transitional time, I think for California and make sure that I’m working really hard on behalf of District 11, which of course means all of that will lead to the betterment of the entire state.”

“So, just excited for the opportunity and glad the voters saw fit to send me, here,” she added.

“I’ve got round two coming up,” Wilson continued referring to the race for the new Assembly District 11 on the June Primary Election ballot.

Wednesday News Release Announcing Oath of Office

In a news release on her official Assembly website posted Wednesday, it reads, “Today, Lori Wilson was sworn in as the Assemblymember for the 11th Assembly District. The newly elected Assemblymember will be representing parts of Contra Costa, Sacramento and Solano Counties.

“Thank you to the voters of Assembly District 11 for your confidence and trust. I am deeply humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to serve our communities in the State Assembly,” expressed Assemblymember Wilson. “From constituents who need help with state services, to challenges like rising homelessness, climate change, and keeping our neighborhoods and communities safe, I promise to work every day to deliver results for our communities, and to be a relentless advocate for every person who lives in our district.”

Wilson walks with her husband Chaveres down the center aisle of the Assembly Chambers to the applause of her family members and new peers, Wednesday morning, April 5, 2022. Photo: CA State Assembly

Assembly Speaker’s Office Explains Rules, Constitution Allows It

According to a staff member in Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office, Wilson was certified through the Chief Clerk’s Office. Also, according to Katie Talbot, Speaker Rendon’s Deputy Director of Communications, the California Constitution allows early pre-certification oaths of office.

“There’s a section of the constitution that addresses this,” she shared. “Article IV, Section 5 (a)(1) of the Constitution provides the Legislature with the authority to judge the qualifications and elections of its Members. So, there have been occasional times in recent history when we’ve sworn in the Member pre-certification. It happens sometimes in cases like this, when there’s only one name on the ballot and the results are not close.”

Full-Term Assembly Election

Wilson does have an opponent, Jennie Callison, whose name will appear on the ballot in the June Primary Election for the full, two-year term in the newly drawn Assembly District 11. It no longer includes Antioch and Brentwood in the Contra Costa County portion of the district. Callison is a Vacaville resident and works in the State Assembly.

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the attachments to this post:


Wilson center aisle with husband


Assemblymembers List 04-06 for 04-07-22


LW Oath of Office email 04-05-22 redacted


Wilson Oath of Office_Wilson


Wilson Oath of Office Wilson


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