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James R. Mills


Picture of James R. Mills
CA Blue Book
Date Party Office Votes Result
11-08-1960 Democratic AD-79 45495 Win
11-06-1962 Democratic AD-79 35745 Win
11-03-1964 Democratic AD-79 49942 Win
11-08-1966 Democratic SD-40 63713 Win
11-03-1970 Democratic SD-40 68810 Win
11-05-1974 Democratic SD-40 76255 Win
11-07-1978 Democratic SD-40 93702 Win

Candidate Biography:

Born: June 6, 1927 in San Diego, CA
Married: Joanna Rohrbough (m. 1959, div. 1980s)
Children: Beatrice, William "Bill", and Eleanor Ann
Military Service: ARMY (Korea)
Died: March 27, 2021 in Bonita, CA

1955-1960: Curator, San Diego Historical Society's Junipero Serra Museum
1971-1980: President pro Tempore, California State Senate
1980-1982: Chairman, Amtrak Board of Directors
1985-1994: Chair, Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB)

  • LEGISLATION: In 1966, Mills introduced the bill that became the Proposition 1A, which amended the Constitution to create a full-time Legislature (with a pay increase from $6000 per year to $16000) and mandate annual general sessions. The bill also eliminated the pocket veto and significantly restructured the state Constitution. In A Disorderly House, Mills comments "I hope God will forgive me..."
  • LEGISLATION: Coauthor (with Frank Belotti) of AB 7 (Chapt. 1237, Stats of 1963) which established "Eureka" as the official state motto.
  • LEGISLATION: In 1971, Mills led the effort to amend the Senate Rules to abolish the Senate's "Fact-Finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities".
  • PLACENAME: The headquarters of the Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB) is named for Senator Mills, who authored the legislation creating the district.
  • LEGISLATIVE HISTORIAN: In addition to his other books (listed below), Senator Mills was the author of A Disorderly House: The Brown-Unruh Years in Sacramento which is easily of the best books about the California legislature of the 1960s. 
  • PUBLISHED: His other four books are; Gospel According to Pontius Pilate, San Diego: Where California Began, "Historical Landmarks of San Diego County, and Poems of Inspiration from the Masters .
  • From his obituary: "In lieu of flowers, his family asked people to take a ride on a trolley, train or bike." (SD Union Tribute)

Source: California Blue Book (1961), (1971)
Source: "James Mills, state legislator who championed public transit, historic preservation, dies at 93" by John Wilkens, San Diego Union Tribune (4/2/2021)