John Benton is a determined advocate for his clients in the halls and hearing rooms of California's State Capitol and with the state's many regulatory agencies. This same commitment carries over into his development of winning strategies for clients who are pursuing state and local government contracts, procurements and public-private partnerships. Over the course of his career, John has provided strategic consulting and legislative lobbying for clients on issues relating to the state budget, civil litigation, construction, education, environmental protection, insurance, gaming, health care, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, taxation and workers' compensation.
Among his accomplishments are:
- Worked with a broad coalition of interests, including both the environmental and trucking lobbies, to amend the California Oil Recycling Enhancement Act to increase incentives for collection and refinement of recycled lube oil;
- Directed a lobbying and grassroots campaign to enact a bill that protects residential subcontractors in construction defect lawsuits;
- Worked with a broad coalition of information technology companies and system integrators to reform California's complicated and restrictive procurement process for large information technology projects;
- Collaborated with the pharmaceutical industry and the California Board of Pharmacy to develop a comprehensive regulatory system to catalogue and track pharmaceutical products in the chain of distribution;
- Advanced a bill to expand the permitting authority of state and local governments to allow the safe carriage of housing trusses and wall panels on state highways;
- Represented a horse racing client seeking to amend legislation allowing "exchange wagering" in California;
- Lobbied on behalf of a renewable energy company on legislation to establish California's renewables portfolio standard;
- Secured regulatory approval of a controversial corporate reorganization plan for one of the firm's insurance clients.
Prior to joining California Strategies, Benton was one of the founding partners of Government Strategies Inc. (GSI), a successful lobbying, government affairs and procurement firm located in Sacramento, California.
Earlier, he served as a regulatory and legislative counsel in the corporate legal departments of three large, national insurers: CNA Insurance Companies, Transamerica Insurance Group and CIGNA. For these industry giants, his work included directing the firms' legislative and regulatory interests in all 50 states; helping to defeat industry-threatening statewide ballot initiatives; and serving as a chief compliance and enforcement negotiator with state insurance regulators.
Upon graduation from Drake University Law School in 1983, he began his career as a staff attorney in the Iowa Department of Insurance. During his years with the department, he prosecuted agents and companies, handled consumer issues, served as an administrative hearing officer, and advocated departmental positions in the Iowa Legislature.
Benton lives in Sacramento with his wife of 30 years and has three grown children. Over the span of his career, he has participated and chaired a number of local and national philanthropic, school, sports, and professional organizations.