Serving as the voice of the people of California's 59th District in the State Assembly, Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. was elected to the State Legislature in November 2012 and re-elected in 2014. The district he represents encompasses a wide-range of diverse, culturally rich and dynamic communities. It lies entirely within Los Angeles County and includes the neighborhoods of South Los Angeles, Florence-Firestone, Walnut Park, and a portion of Huntington Park.
As the people's voice for the 59th District in the State Capitol, Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer has worked hard to put local neighborhoods first and to deliver results for his constituents. He's played a key role in California's economic recovery, helped invest more in local neighborhood schools while making higher education more affordable and accessible, advanced job creation policies, pushed for protections for immigrants - like driver's licenses for individuals who pass all required exams and tests as well as healthcare for immigrant children- advocated for smart environmental protections that promote clean energy and green jobs, supported more safeguards for working families and their rights, and he's spearheaded forward-thinking policies that both promote public safety but also enhance justice in our criminal justice system to make it more fair and transparent for all communities.
Significantly, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer has authored or co-authored legislation that has directly benefited all residents in the 59th District and the state overall. Legislation such as: AB 672 that provides re-entry assistance - like housing and job training - for persons that have been wrongfully convicted and consequently released from state prison; AB 266 that provides proper regulatory oversight of the cultivation, manufacture, transportation, storage distribution and sale of medical marijuana; and AB1012 that prohibits school districts from assigning any student to a course period without educational content, a.k.a., Fake Classes bills.
In the Legislature, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer is Chair of the Public Safety Committee and serves on the following standing committees: Higher Education Committee, Government Organization Committee, and the Agriculture Committee. He is Chair of the Select Committee on Urban Planning and Land Use in Underserved Communities, and Co-Chair of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color
The father of two sons, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer holds his responsibility as Chair of the Status of Boys and Men of Color dear to his heart. Consequently, he has held Legislative Hearings, community forums and consulted with experts to guide him in writing laws, implementing programs, and forming alliances to address the hurdles faced by this population.
Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer recognized the devastation the School-to-Prison-Pipeline posed for underserved communities like those in his district, which has high incarceration rates for African Americans and Latinos in particular. That is why as Chair of the Public Safety subcommittee, he led the way to secure nearly $100 million for recidivism reduction grants. For the first time since the great recession, millions of dollars in grants were made available to service providers to help turn-around the lives of the formally incarcerated so that they could become productive residents in their communities. His subcommittee also has the enormous responsibility of overseeing the entire budget for the state’s court system. Partnering with the Chief Justice and working with judges throughout the state, he helped to restored over $300 million to the court system after a decade of devastating budget cuts.
Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer has the distinction of being elected to serve as Chair the California Legislative Black Caucus, which has a historical number of twelve members. Under his leadership, the caucus has expanded its annual programs, increased the number of college scholarship and improved state funding for programs and institutions like the California African American Museum (CAAM) and the Mervyn Dymally Political Institute at California State University Dominguez Hills.
Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer’s history of public service includes serving as Director of Asset Management for the City of Los Angeles, Assistant Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, Chair of the Los Angeles County Small Business Commission, Vice President of SEIU's (Local 721) Los Angeles Professional Managers Association, and statewide Secretary of the California Democratic Party.
While working for the City of Los Angeles, Jones-Sawyer transformed the city's complicated and complex permit development bureaucratic system into a more "customer-friendly" agency that expedited the processing of many huge developments, including the building of the Magic Johnson Theater (now the Rave in Baldwin Hills) and the Staples Center Arena.
The Jones-Sawyer family members were early pioneers in the civil rights movement. His uncle, Jefferson Thomas, was one of the "Little Rock Nine" high school students. These brave students faced violent mobs in their fight to integrate an all-white high school in 1957; one of the most important and documented civil rights events in our nation's history.
Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and has been an active member of the Alumni Association and past President of the Black Alumni Association; he also completed the prestigious Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government’s Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.
Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer also served as Chair of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, past President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration, as State Secretary for the California Democratic Party, and President of New Frontier Democratic Club. He is the father of three children: Lauren, Reginald Jr. and Evan.