Saying that she never aspired to be a career politician, Alyson Huber finished up her duties as the Lodi area's Assemblywoman on Nov. 30.
She has since been hired as an attorney with Greenberg Taurig, an international law firm in downtown Sacramento, and aspires someday to become a judge.
A Lodi native, Huber, 40, served four years in the former 10th Assembly District, which ranged geographically from Lodi to Rancho Cordova and El Dorado Hills. She could have run for a third two-year term under California's term limits rule, but she decided to step down due to some personal issues and because the district she represented has been carved up into four separate districts.
She's also been going through what she termed a messy divorce that involves some serious real estate issues.
"I will always have fond memories of my four years in the Assembly," Huber said in an interview Thursday morning. "I felt I did the best I could."
Huber's parents were on welfare when she was born, and the family moved 10 times between kindergarten and 12th grade. Born in Fremont, Huber lived in a mobile home park at Tower Park Marina during the summer between fifth and sixth grade.
Her family moved a few more times, all within Lodi, so she had the stability of attending Leroy Nichols Elementary School in sixth grade and then Woodbridge Middle School, Lodi High School and San Joaquin Delta College.
Huber worked at the McDonald's on Lodi Avenue at the age of 15 and was assistant manager of Lodi's three movie theaters at the time, Arbor, Valley and Sunset.
Fighting a ban on Styrofoam
Huber was best known in the Assembly for her work with the Joint Sunset Review Oversight Committee, designed to eliminate state agencies, boards and commissions that are unproductive and cost taxpayers money.
However, she says she was only able to spend her first term creating the statute to establish the committee. She then conducted an inventory of all commissions and agencies. calling people in from other states that have similar oversight.
Had she served a third term beginning in 2013, Huber said she would have finally been able to seek reform of unnecessary commissions and agencies.
In Lodi, Huber said her biggest accomplishment was defeating a bill that would have effectively banned Styrofoam containers, which hit home with Lodi's DART Container Corp. Plant managers said if the bill was passed, it would result in the plant's closure.
Huber said she brought busloads of legislators on three occasions to the DART plant to take a tour and learn about the issue.
"I worked very hard to defeat the bill," she said.
While the Styrofoam container ban was the biggest Lodi-specific issue during her two Assembly terms, Huber said most of her work was behind the scenes.
"My biggest accomplishments no one knew about," Huber said. "The problems in my district were not headline news."
One such issue, she said, came when a bill was introduced to ban the use of carbon monoxide at animal shelters. Huber said she got the law changed after the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation said the law would also prevent farmers from using carbon monoxide in holes to kill gophers on their property.
Generally considered a moderate Democrat, Huber emphasized her ability to reach out to Republicans as well as legislators from her own party.
"I think Alyson has always done a great job listening to people from both sides of the aisle," said Lodi City Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce, a Republican. "She's always made herself very available and approachable. I applaud her efforts and I will miss working with her. She's just genuinely a nice lady."
Mounce said she may not have always agreed with Huber on issues, but Huber has always been willing to listen.
After former Assemblywoman Barbara Alby, a conservative Republican, died on Sunday, Huber posted some glowing comments on her Facebook page.
"There are some friends you meet in politics 'on the other side of the aisle' that are such good friends and great people that you completely forget about your partisan differences. They are simply your friend," Huber posted on her Facebook page. "Thank you, Barbara Alby, for being my friend. I always enjoyed your company and will miss your smile."
Huber said she had two choices if she wanted to run for a third term — remain in her El Dorado Hills home or move to a different district. Either way, she would have had to meet a significant number of new people, regardless of district, she said.
For example, staying in El Dorado Hills would mean that she would only represent about 30,000 of the 480,000 people in the former 10th District. Besides, Republican Beth Gaines represents El Dorado Hills now.
"That's her district," Huber said.
Huber considered moving to Rancho Cordova to run in the new 8th District, or to the 9th District, which includes Lodi, but she didn't want to uproot her children from their school.
She filed for divorce from her husband, Tim Huber, on May 2, 2011, but she said the divorce is not final.
Huber said she would someday like to be a judge because it incorporates much of what she did in the Assembly — listening to all sides of an issue and making a decision.
In her new position marking her return to the legal profession, Huber said she chose Greenberg Traurig because the firm is involved with monitoring regulatory agencies.
"As a lawyer, you can file suit against regulatory agencies going outside their boundaries," she said.
However, state law forbids Huber from lobbying or seeking legislation from existing legislators for at least a year, so she vows to stay clear of the issues she was involved with in the Assembly.
The law firm has 35 offices and 1,750 attorneys worldwide. In California, Greenberg has more than 200 attorneys at offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco and Silicon Valley as well as Sacramento.