Adam Gray is focused on what matters most to the residents of California’s Central Valley: education, public safety, and jobs.
In the Great Central Valley where Gray grew up, each generation has been taught that hard work leads to the creation of value. As a young man working in his family’s dairy holding, the value Adam created with his hard work put him through Merced Community College, and eventually the University of California at Santa Barbara. That education propelled him into a career helping ensure that hard work continued to pay-off for the families back home.
Adam found his academic interests lent him to the state’s lawmaking body – the California State Assembly. Working as a Legislative Aide to former Assemblymember Dennis Cardoza, Adam established himself as a strong advocate for the agricultural industry. In his first decade working for the Assembly, Adam successfully guided legislation to exempt fuel and farm equipment from state sales taxes. In the years since, this law has saved California farmers millions of dollars and helped expand their operations. But despite each success, Adam realized he was always facing an uphill battle.
Throughout his years working for the California Legislature, Adam recognized one constant: despite producing a majority of the State’s agricultural product every year, the Central Valley never seemed to receive the recognition it deserved.
In order to help build a stronger voice for the Central Valley, Adam returned home to serve as an assistant lecturer on the state legislature at UC Merced. By sharing his experience, Adam helped mold future advocates for rural Californians. Understanding the importance of developing the academic potential of the region, Adam would later make significant progress in the legislature by supporting UC Merced and funding for programs like the Future Farmers of America. Additionally, Adam opened up a public affairs and communications firm in Merced to help expand the marketing for a region that although vast, remains mainly isolated.
Then, at the time California and the rest of the Country was still reeling from the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, Adam chose to step up and be part of the solution. In 2012, Adam was elected to represent Assembly District 21, which encompasses Merced County, portions of Stanislaus County, and the cities of Merced, Modesto, Los Banos, Patterson, Gustine, Newman, Ceres, Livingston, and Atwater.
In his first years in office, Adam fought to spare vital public safety services from catastrophic cuts that threatened to compromise the safekeeping of his family friends, and neighbors. Adam also addressed the collapse in the housing market by working on laws to help families buy their first home, or keep the home where they lived. But as the economy slowly began to recover, the Central Valley was throttled by and even more harmful event: a drought.
The farmers and ranchers of the Central Valley have always been the cylinders of California’s economic engine. But just as an engine needs fuel, that Central Valley needs water. Adam’s top priorities during the drought have been to protect water rights and create water storage projects to help offset the effects of future droughts. Adam has advocated legislation that limits the ability of the state to divert water from the Central Valley farmers and communities, and played a significant role in the construction of the 2014 Water Bond (Prop 1), advocating to maintain nearly $3 billion to construct new water storage to keep water prices affordable for Central Valley farmers and businesses.
Assemblymember Gray currently Chairs the Governmental Organization Committee, and is a sitting member of the committees on Aging and Long-Term Care, and Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. Adam still lives in his hometown of Merced with his wife Cadee.