Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, elected to the State Assembly in November 2008, represents the 16th Assembly District, which includes portions of Alameda and Contra Costa counties and the communities of Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.
Assemblymember Buchanan is the Chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee bringing a deep understanding of educational issues gained during her 18 years of service on the San Ramon Valley School Board, including four terms as board president. Education has been a lifelong priority for Joan. She understands that for California’s economy to thrive in the future, we must invest in a strong public education system, including a focus on instilling strong fundamentals in early grades. Through her service on the State Allocation Board, Joan works to maximize the state’s investment in safe and up-to-date school facilities for all students.
Since being elected to the Assembly, Joan has focused on working with local leaders to solve problems. This session, Joan’s legislative package focuses largely on education issues, including a package of three bills dealing with teacher evaluation, discipline and dismissal, as well as mandated reporting. In the areas of educational facilities funding, she has co-authored a bill that will put safeguards on the sale of Capital Appreciation Bonds. She has also introduced The Pink Plate Bill to create a specialized license plate promoting breast cancer awareness and prevention.
In 2012, Joan led the Assembly’s review of the Governor’s Reorganization Plan successfully fighting for significant changes in the plan including technology acquisition, maintaining the independence of the California Transportation Commission and the Delta Stewardship Council, and retaining an Advisory Commission on Boating and Waterways.
Since 2008, Joan has pursued a legislative agenda focused on fiscal accountability, technology and innovation, and job creation. She has been a proponent of performance based budgeting, using data to drive decision-making and the allocation of resources. She has authored several bills to improve the development and acquisition of information technology by the State of California, recognizing that technology is critical to providing timely and cost-effective services and information to the residents of California.
In addition to chairing the Assembly Education Committee, she serves on the standing committees of Utilities & Commerce, Transportation and Accountability & Administrative Review. In 2009, she was appointed, by the Speaker, to the Special Education Commission and in 2010 to the Court Technology Advisory Committee and the State Allocations Board. She also chairs the Select Committee on Government Efficiency, Technology, and Innovation and serves on the Select Committee on Gun Violence in the East Bay. In 2013, she was appointed by the Speaker, to represent California on the Education Committee of the Council of State Governments.
Joan honed her financial and analytical skills at Delta Dental, becoming one of the fastest rising women in the company and Director of Commercial Operations before the age of 30. She left the private sector to raise her five children and in the process became one of the San Ramon Valley’s most effective community activists.
Joan is a 30 year resident of Alamo, CA and a native Californian. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.