Agriculture · Highlight

Gray ousted as chair of powerful Assembly committee over water vote

Assemblyman Adam Gray (D–Merced) is no longer the chairman of the Assembly Governmental Organizations Committee, he announced on Saturday.

The reason? His votes on legislation that gave state water officials additional salvos against the Federal government in their ever-bubbling water war.

The legislative language was inserted into a budget bill in the waning days of the state’s legislative session this year. As approved, it enabled officials with the State Water Board to undercut on-going negotiations for voluntary agreements between water users, state, and Federal water agencies.

“The language… gave the State Water Board staff the authority to implement an even more destructive version of their water grab without review and without even a public vote,” Gray said in a statement. “I voted no.”

“As a result of my commitment to defend my district, Speaker Rendon has stripped me of my position as Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee.”

In his statement, Gray noted it wasn’t the first time he took flak for his positioning on water issues.

“Five years ago, I fought to pass legislation to hold the State Water Board accountable for the devastating economic impacts the state water grab will inflict on the people living in my district and the greater San Joaquin Valley,” he said.

“Despite opposition from legislative leadership, my bill was approved by a narrow committee vote, and I was summarily removed from my position on the Assembly Water Committee.”

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at