|May 12, 2005
Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or
Kevin McCarthy, the southern San Joaquin Valley’s 32nd district Assemblyman and California State University, Bakersfield alumnus, was honored as CSUB’s 2004-05 Alumnus of the Year at a ceremony today (May 13).
“Kevin is a great example of the leaders that CSUB produces and the impact alumni have, not only locally, but also statewide and nationwide,” CSUB financial aid counselor Frank Ramirez wrote in his nomination letter. “… Major accomplishments in his profession and for our society have become very time consuming, but Kevin continues to make time for CSUB and its students. He is regularly seen on campus in political science classes, panel discussions, and public forums.”
McCarthy was first elected to the Assembly in November 2002, and re-elected in 2004. As a freshman legislator, he was selected unanimously by his Republican colleagues to serve as the Assembly Republican Leader. With a strong vision for reform, McCarthy assumed the leadership position in January 2003.
He is also a member of “Big 5,” which includes Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the four principal legislative leaders – president pro tem of the Senate, Senate minority leader, Assembly speaker and Assembly minority leader. During “Big 5” meetings, the legislative leaders participate in deliberations on critical issues such as California’s budget crisis and workers’ compensation. McCarthy also served on Schwarzenegger’s transition team.
McCarthy is a fourth generation Kern County resident, graduating from Bakersfield High School in 1983 and earning two degrees from CSUB: a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1989, and an MBA in 1994. The Assemblyman put himself through college, turning a winning lotto scratcher into stock market investments, and a used-car operation into ownership of a deli. He sold the deli, Kevin O’s, after a year to raise money to go to school.
“Assemblyman McCarthy attributes his success to his experience at CSUB,” said CSUB Alumni Association President Renee Kinzel. “In his interview he said he wasn’t even really interested in politics until he became chair of the College Republicans on campus while he was a student.” Kinzel said McCarthy is symbolic of what the award stands for. “He gives back not only as a public servant, but also as a citizen. … He was one of the first to welcome President (Horace) Mitchell to CSUB and asked him what he could do to help the university.”
Described in the Los Angeles Times as someone who “could be unlucky for Democrats,” McCarthy is a rising star in the Legislature. In fact, the non-partisan California Journal named him “rookie of the year.” The Journal also named him as part of the “assembly elite,” “freshman elite,” and for his quick grasp of issues and politics, the “quick study.”
McCarthy said his key priority is to reform the way the Legislature operates and establish a government that works for the people. He recently introduced a Constitutional Amendment as part of Schwarzenegger’s reform package that would change the redistricting process for the state. The Amendment proposes establishing a process for drawing fair and competitive seats by placing redistricting in the hands of an independent commission.
Prior to being elected to the Assembly, McCarthy served as the district director for U.S. Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Bakersfield, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. McCarthy was also a trustee on the Kern Community College District Board.
McCarthy and his wife, Judy, have two children.
Kinzel said the winner of the Alumnus of the Year Award is determined by meeting several criteria including the effect of the candidate’s CSUB education on their careers, level of community involvement, and the candidate’s level of continued affiliation with the university.
A news conference was held today at 11:45 a.m. in Alumni Park followed by an award luncheon in the Stockdale Room in the CSUB cafeteria.