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 Executive Branch and regulatory agencies. This same commitment carries over into his development of winning strategies for clients who are pursuing state and local government contracts, IT procurements, and public-private partnerships.
Over the course of his lengthy career, Benton has advocated for the public policy priorities of business clients, non-profits and governmental entities on issues relating to the state budget, education, early childhood development, health care, civil litigation, construction, environmental protection, insurance, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, taxation, workers’ compensation, and occupational safety.
Among his accomplishments are:
- Created an Early Care and Education Coalition, and worked with First 5 Commissions and other early childhood groups to secure increased funding in the state budget for subsidized Child Care, Preschool slots and higher reimbursement rates for providers;
- Through legislation and budget committee oversight, restricted the ability of the Board of Equalization to take an excessive share of Tobacco Tax monies from children’s programs;
- Represented the state’s largest private provider of services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to secure increased funding in the state budget;
- Represented several charter schools in successful efforts to turn back anti-charter school legislation that would have imperiled quality educational services to students;
- Successfully passed legislation and worked with the Attorney General’s Office to allow professional sports teams in California to hold 50/50 raffles for charitable purposes;
- Represented a health and human services analytics company to successfully win a large data warehouse procurement with the California Department of Health Care Services;
- Worked with a group of information technology companies and system integrators to reform California’s complicated and restrictive procurement process for large information technology projects;
- Successfully amended 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;
- 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 late-session 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;
- Lobbied on behalf of a renewable energy company on legislation to establish California’s renewables portfolio standard;
Prior to joining California Strategies in 2010, Benton was one of the founding partners of Government Strategies Inc. (GSI), a boutique lobbying, government affairs and procurement firm located in Sacramento, California.
Earlier in his legal career, 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 legislative and regulatory activities in all 50 states; serving as a chief compliance and enforcement negotiator with state insurance regulators; and, participating in industry trade associations and statewide ballot measure committees.
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 40 years and has three grown children, who continue to live and work in California. Over the span of his career, he has participated and chaired several local and national philanthropic, school, sports, and professional organizations.