Five questions for State Senator Josh Becker

by Linda Hubbard on January 26, 2023

Menlo Park resident Josh Becker was elected to the California State Senate in November 2020 representing the 13th District, which includes the four communities InMenlo serves — Atherton, Menlo Park, Portola Valley and Woodside. Previously, he was initiator of the Full Circle community organization and the CEO of Lex Machina. We talked to him about what drove him to pursue politics as well as his interests outside of the political arena.

What sparked your interest in public policy and politics?

I think it goes back to my time in El Salvador where I stared a school for repatriated refugees in the early ’90s.  I came back from that experience realizing I wanted to get involved in service.

I spent some time as a press secretary on Capital Hill — and really enjoyed it and learned a lot.

Then when I came west for graduate school at Stanford, I found I really liked entrepreneurship. That’s when I founded Full Circle [a community leadership and policy innovation organization].

Why did you decide to run for elected office? 

I’d been involved with clean tech for [President] Obama and really started to see the impact you could have in California — melding together my entrepreneurial background and government and keeping that mentality to be creative and get some big things done.

What surprised you about elective office?

It is very entrepreneurial! And it is what you make of it. I’m really enjoying it so far.

I’ve placed 21 bills before the governor in two years. This includes the pilot program in the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) that could allow all of its nearly 30,000 students to attend one of the district’s three campuses at a reduced or possibly no cost.

I”ll continue to focus on the quality of life here on the Peninsula along with using the platform of California to have a national impact.

What activities outside of politics do you most enjoy?

Having grown up with classic rock, I see a lot of live music. And I’m sort of a biker, sort of a tennis player and sort of a golfer!

What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?

I was a history major in college and a fan of Winston Churchill. So William Manchester’s three-volume biography of him comes to mind. It’s something I could read over and over.

For details on Senator Becker’s Legislative activities, click here, and click here for a list of all bills he has introduced. 

Photo by Irene Searles (c) 2023

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