Ross Johnson, former state ethics panel chair and republican legislator from Orange County passed away yesterday at age 77 in Sacramento.
“Ross was always held in high respect by the business community,” said California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allan Zaremberg. “He was passionate about political reform, dedicated to representing his constituents and respected by all of his colleagues. Johnson leaves an indelible mark on California politics for ensuring transparency and accountability in our elections.”
Johnson served his constituents in the state Legislature for 26 years, first in the Assembly from 1978 to 1995 and then in the Senate from 1995-2004.
He legacy includes being the first person to serve as party leader in both the state Senate and Assembly, as well as authoring legislation and a successful 1988 ballot initiative on campaign finance limits and disclosures.
He was appointed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 to be chairman of the state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). During his tenure, Jonson helped adopt policies which made political donations more transparent. He resigned for health reasons in 2010. While at the FPPC, Johnson told the Los Angeles Times, his primary concern is “working to help ensure fair elections.”
Johnson is survived by his wife, Diane, daughters Susan and Molly and seven grandchildren. Services are pending, but the family asks that in lieu of flowers, remembrances be considered for Women’s Empowerment and the SPCA, both in Sacramento.