District 2 Latest News
Tribute to the Late Supervisor - John J. Benoit
On December 26, members of the Board of Supervisors lost a colleague and friend, and Riverside County residents lost a man who had served them for almost 50 years. But it was John J. Benoit’s family who suffered the most heartbreaking loss – the loss of a loving husband, father, brother, and grandfather.
Some might call John a politician or elected official, a description often given to those of us who enter public life. But John J. Benoit – Supervisor Benoit, Assemblyman Benoit, Senator Benoit, School Board Member Benoit, and CHP Commander Benoit – was most proud of being called a public servant, a man who went out each day to serve the community where he and his family lived, and who was honored to represent it.
John and I never met when we were young, even though we both grew up in Riverside in the ‘60s, were only three years apart in age, and went to high schools less than a half-mile apart. I met John after he was elected to the 64th Assembly District in November of 2002. He was a freshman Assemblyman and I was in Sacramento lobbying state legislators on a legislation crucial to counties. Because counties represent people of all social and economic backgrounds, it is critical to us as county supervisors that our elected state and federal representatives can work across party lines and support legislation to the betterment of everyone in their district. That is exactly why all California counties elect non-partisan county supervisors. Historically, the most effective and longest serving county supervisors in California have been those who are fiscally conservative yet sensitive to the social fabric of the demographics of their county and district, regardless of party affiliation. John epitomized that quality and it is why we hit it off from the moment we first met in Sacramento.
John was a doer, a thinker, a planner, and problem-solver who just wanted to get things done for his Coachella Valley and for all Riverside County residents. Though a Republican, it did not matter to him if a particular piece of useful legislation was authored by Democrats across the aisle. If it was good for his Coachella Valley and our county he would walk over to meet with the Democratic author, then knock on the door of the Assembly Speaker or Senate President Pro Tempore in his efforts to help pass good legislation.
My dear friend and colleague, Supervisor Roy Wilson, was John’s predecessor on our Board. Roy knew exactly what he was doing just before he died in 2009 he when he asked then-Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger to appoint Senator Benoit to complete the unexpired term on our Board. I had the distinct honor to serve 14 years with Roy, who knew John was a great legislator, a man dedicated to the Coachella Valley and (like Roy) a man for all the people! Roy wanted a successor who would carry on the work he did not have the chance to complete. It was a blessing that Governor Schwarzenegger appointed John as the Fourth District Supervisor to continue the work Roy began. From the moment he joined the Board, John began building his own legacy through tireless dedication and hard work.
John J. Benoit was my friend and colleague on the Board of Supervisors, a former State Assemblyman, State Senator, School Board Member, CHP Commander and Corona police officer. More simply, he was an amazing public servant and a fun-loving guy. When he was not talking business, he just enjoyed talking to people and he listened to every word they said.
When he was diagnosed recently with end-stage cancer, among John’s first thoughts were all the goals he had hope to reach before he left office. My colleagues on the Board of Supervisors and I will sorely miss John’s leadership, as will his dedicated staff and every constituent in his Coachella Valley. May our dear friend rest in peace.
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