Portantino Links Art of Conversation to Political Science

Photo courtesy office of Anthony Portantino
State Sen. Anthony Portantino is shown speaking at a press conference concerning the 2009 Station Fire with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Congressman David Dreier and Congressman Adam Schiff. Portantino was a state assemblyman during the fire, still considered the largest in L.A. County.

Among the 120 California state legislators, Sen. Anthony Portantino may be the only one who lists his home telephone number on the state contact website.
That’s led to a few odd conversations with his colleagues at the capitol, he mused recently.
“I’ve been asked before, ‘What do you say when someone calls you at home?’” he chuckled. “I tell them, ‘Well, I go, “Hello?” How do you answer the phone at home?’”
Portantino’s been answering those phone calls since he launched his political career in 1999, starting as a city councilman in his hometown of La Cañada Flintridge, where he still resides. From the beginning, he grew accustomed to local residents calling at all hours or even paying him unannounced visits. He still vividly recalls some of those encounters, 20 years on: One elderly woman phoned late at night, upset, and loudly laid out a bitter complaint. After finally taking a breath, she told him, “I know you think I’m yelling at you, but I’m not really yelling at you, it’s just, who else am I gonna call about this at 10:30 at night?”
Now serving his second Senate term in the 25th District after being reelected in the Nov. 3 election, the legislator — who prefers Anthony as his nomenclature — has maintained that open-door policy over the years. In fact, he said some of the signature legislation he has crafted arose from open conversations with residents at the post office, supermarket or the sidelines of his daughters’ AYSO games.

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Portantino Introduces Education, Transparency Bills

Back in office, Anthony Portantino clocked in for the first time and put forth a trio of bills in his first few hours as state Senator for California’s 25th District.
“It’s an honor to serve the communities that have been wonderful to me,” said Portantino, a former state Assemblyman who won a seat in the state Senate for the first time by defeating L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich in November.
“You get to work on issues you care about, you get to continue to learn more about the community you represent and I’m honored to be in a position where I can affect what is positive change,” added Portantino, a La Cañada Flintridge resident who previously served as the city’s mayor.

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