It still has Alan Nakanishi's name on the building, but it's really the district office of new Assemblywoman Alyson Huber.
The Democratic assemblywoman from El Dorado Hills has opened Nakanishi's old office across from Lodi City Hall at 218 W. Pine St., but her Republican predecessor's name won't be removed until Huber decides whether to keep the office or sign a lease on School Street.
After Huber decides on an office location, it's up to the Assembly Rules Committee to approve the lease, Huber said. That's because the lease is with the Assembly itself, not Huber.
Although there's been a changing of the guard in the 10th Assembly District, Huber's Lodi office still gets phone calls for Nakanishi, who was termed out in December, said new District Director Anne Baird.
While being embroiled with the state's budget deficit, Huber has been assembling a staff, hiring legislative veterans Ted Muhlhauser as chief of staff and Baird as district director. Baird is based in the Lodi office though she travels all over the district - from north Stockton to Rancho Cordova to El Dorado Hills.
"Ted has really helped me get up to speed on the workings in Sacramento," Huber said Monday. "Anne has already hit the ground running, and she lives in the 10th Assembly District - an added benefit."
Baird, 64, was district director for 5th District State Sen. Mike Machado until he termed out in December. She could have stayed in the same office with Machado's successor, Lois Wolk, D-Davis, but Baird chose to work with Huber, whom she had known for a couple of years.
Baird said she also likes the challenge of Huber having to seek re-election two years from now even though Wolk has a safer four-year term in the Senate.
Muhlhauser, 39, was chief of staff of Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal and State Sen. Betty Karnette, both from Long Beach, before working for Huber.
Alyson Huber appointed to four committeesFreshman Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, D-El Dorado Hills, has been appointed to four committees. They are the Jobs-Economic Development-Economy Committee, Veterans Affairs, Higher Education and Water-Parks-Wildlife.
While the jobs-related committee is the most timely since the Legislature is grappling with the state budget, Huber said she is looking forward the most to tackling critical water issues with the Water-Parks-Wildlife Committee.
"Once the budget is taken care of, the No. 1 regional issue is water," Huber said. "I will fight tooth-and-nail against the peripheral canal, and we need to talk about a water bond."
Huber said that she hopes the Legislature will vote on an 18-month budget proposal this week to set the state's spending priorities through June of 2010.
Lodi office at a glanceLocation: 218 W. Pine St. It may become the permanent office, or the office may move to a School Street location.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, but it will be closed if District Director Anne Baird and Field Representative Chanel Murray are away on district business.
Contact: Phone the Lodi office at (209) 333-5330, the Capitol office at (916) 319-2010 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Assemblywoman Alyson Huber's office
As chief of staff, Muhlhauser focuses on legislation and State Capitol issues, while Baird says she talks to people throughout the district to find out what constituents think about bill proposals.
"There is constant information back and forth to make sure we don't miss anything and we're on the same page," Baird said.
Another duty Baird has is to decide what community events Huber will attend, such as Fourth of July parades, festivals and other events. Baird acknowledges that Huber can always overrule her on what events to attend.
"It can be a 24-hour-a-day job, and that's fine with me," she said.
Baird, who lives in north Stockton, was born in Sharon, Pa.
With 11 others, Baird formed the Women's Center of San Joaquin County before selling insurance for 17 years. Machado hired her In January 1997 after she worked on his re-election campaign the previous year and helped defeat a recall effort against Machado in 1995.
Baird lost to incumbent Larry Ruhstaller for a seat on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors in 2006. She said she hopes to run for public office, but not in 2010. She'll be too busy working on Huber's re-election campaign. That comes first.
Baird's husband of 42 years., David, is director of the San Joaquin County Bar Association. They have two grown children, two grandsons and another grandchild on the way.
Muhlhauser, who grew up in Southern California and now lives in Sacramento, simply went through the regular application process through Huber's office.
"I dropped my resume off because I kind of got sick of hanging around the house and not having a job," Muhlhauser said.
Muhlhauser said he enjoys the fact that Huber is open-minded about issues and isn't necessarily drawn to voting the party line.
"She's not a career politician; she has no one she owes any legacy to," Muhlhauser said.
Muhlhauser and his wife, Stephanie, have an 18-month-old child.
Editor's Note: This story was updated at 9:21 a.m. to correct the subhead. The district's office will not be manned by the chief of staff.