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LONGEST TERMS IN OFFICE

In the first incarnation of term limits, which started in 1990, constitutional officers and State Senate members can hold an office for two four-year terms. In the State Assembly, the limit was three two-year terms. Under the new term limits, starting in 2012, members of the Legislature are now limited to a total of 12 years in office (no matter which house they are in when they serve those years).

Seats in the US House of Representatives and US Senate are not bound by term limits, and members may serve for as long as the voters in their districts reelect them. The current longest-serving member of the legislature is State Senator Jim Nielsen, who served twelve years in the Senate prior to term limits, four years in the Assembly under old term limits, and has served in the Senate since early 2013.

As of September 2018, the longest terms that California elected officials have held a single office is:

State Executive

Office Name Dates Years
Governor Jerry Brown 1975-83, 2011-19 16
Lt. Governor Leo T. McCarthy 1983-1995  12
Secretary of State Frank C. Jordan  1911-1940 29
Attorney General U. S. Webb 1903-1939 36
State Treasurer  Charles G. Johnson 1923-1956  33
State Controller Ray L. Riley 1921-1935 14
Insurance Commissioner  John Garamendi
Dave Jones
1991-95, 2003-07
2011-2019
8
Superintendent of Public Instruction Roy E. Simpson 1945-1963  17
Board of Equalization George Reilly 1939-1983 44

* Currently holds this office

 

State Legislative

Name Service Dates Years
Legislature (1) Ralph C. Dills 1939-49, 1967-98 43.4
State Senate Randolph Collier 1939-1976 38
State Assembly Vincent Thomas 1941-1978 37

(1) Total combined service from both houses of the Legislature.

 

Federal Legislative

Name Service Dates Years
Congress (1)
Pete Stark
Henry Waxman
George Miller
1973-2013
1975-2015
1975-2015
40
U.S. Senate Hiram Johnson 1917-1945 28.3
U.S. House Pete Stark
Henry Waxman
George Miller
1973-2013
1975-2015
1975-2015
40

(1) Total combined service from both houses of the Legislature.

Currently Serving

Name Service Dates Years
Executive Branch
(Starting 1/3)
Betty Yee
2006-Present
12
State Legislature (1)
State Senate
State Assembly
Jim Nielsen
Jim Nielsen

Class of 2012
1978-Present (2)
1978-Present (2)
2012-Present
19.9
15.9
6.0
Congress (1)
U.S. Senate
U.S. House
Nancy Pelosi
Dianne Feinstein
Nancy Pelosi
1987-Present
1992-Present
1987-Present
32
26
32

(1) Total combined service from both houses of the Legislature.
(2) Not continuous service.