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Mike Gatto

Mike Gatto

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Michael Anthony "Mike" Gatto (born October 19, 1974) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 public official. In June 2010, after a series of three elections in eight weeks (two Special elections and one Primary), the voters of the 43rd Assembly District elected Gatto to the California State Assembly
California State Assembly
The California State Assembly is the lower house of the California State Legislature. There are 80 members in the Assembly, representing an approximately equal number of constituents, with each district having a population of at least 420,000...

. At the time of his election, Gatto was the youngest Democrat in the California State Legislature, and the second-youngest overall.

Early life and career


Gatto grew up in the Franklin Hills and Silver Lake
Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California
Silver Lake is a hilly neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles, California east of Hollywood and northwest of Downtown Los Angeles. Silver Lake is inhabited by a wide variety of ethnic and socioeconomic groups, but it is best known as an eclectic gathering of hipsters and the creative class.The...

 neighborhoods of Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

. His father was a public-school teacher, his grandfather a steelworker. Gatto has held down a job every day of his life since his sixteenth birthday, including helping pay for his college education by changing tires at Sears.

In 1996, Gatto graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...

 with a Bachelor's Degree in History. After a series of different jobs, he took positions as Political Director and District Director for United States Congressman Brad Sherman
Brad Sherman
Bradley J. "Brad" Sherman is an American politician. He has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1997, representing ....

. While working for the Congressman, he put himself through law school at night, graduating magna cum laude from Loyola Law School
Loyola Law School
Loyola Law School is the law school of Loyola Marymount University, a private Catholic university in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions, in Los Angeles, California. Loyola was established in 1920. Like Loyola University Chicago School of Law and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law , it...

 in 2004. He was recruited out of law school to practice at O’Melveny & Myers, Los Angeles’ oldest law firm. Gatto also served in the administrations of three different Los Angeles Mayors, as President of the El Pueblo (Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority) Commission.

In 2007, Gatto began practicing law at Mayer Brown
Mayer Brown
Mayer Brown is an international law firm head-quartered in Chicago which specializes in commercial transactions and litigation. The firm employs more than 1,600 lawyers, including approximately 875 in the Americas, 425 in Europe and 300 in Asia....

 LLP, helping small- and medium-sized businesses with problems they were having with the government. In 2009, Gatto started teaching English courses at night. As an attorney, Gatto's pro bono
Pro bono
Pro bono publico is a Latin phrase generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in marketing, technology, and strategy consulting firms...

 work received many accolades, particularly the free assistance he provided to the victims of a mortgage-fraud ring.

Elections to the Assembly


The 43rd Assembly District includes all or part of Burbank
Burbank, California
Burbank is a city in Los Angeles County in Southern California, United States, north of downtown Los Angeles. The estimated population in 2010 was 103,340....

, Glendale
Glendale
Glendale is the anglicised version of its gaelic name, Gleann Dail, which means valley of fertile, low-lying arable land. The name originates from Scotland.It may refer to:-Places:Australia*Glendale, New South Wales**Stockland, a shopping centre...

 (including part of Montrose), La Crescenta, the Los Angeles communities of Atwater Village, Franklin Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake and the San Fernando Valley
San Fernando Valley
The San Fernando Valley is an urbanized valley located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area of southern California, United States, defined by the dramatic mountains of the Transverse Ranges circling it...

 communities of North Hollywood, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, and Van Nuys.

In January 2010, after the incumbent Assemblyman resigned his position, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

 scheduled a Special Election to be held on April 13, 2010. Despite being given little chance of victory by Sacramento insiders, Gatto emerged as the highest vote getter, besting two Democrats and a Republican in a then-rare "open" Primary.

On June 8, 2010, Gatto faced the odd situation of having both a Primary and a General/Special Runoff election on the same day. During the campaign, Gatto secured many key endorsements, including the only major newspaper to endorse in the race, the Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News
The Los Angeles Daily News is the second-largest circulating daily newspaper of Los Angeles, California. It is the flagship of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, a branch of Colorado-based MediaNews Group....

. The Daily News wrote that Gatto is “fiscally minded and intelligent . . . the kind of legislator California needs.” Gatto won both elections, by wide margins and took the oath of office on June 9, 2010.

Because vacancies in both houses (Assembly and Senate) had left over a million Californians without representation, both the Assembly and the Senate exercised little-known provisions of the Constitution to seat the new members (Gatto and Bill Emmerson
Bill Emmerson
William "Bill" Emmerson is a Republican California State Senator, representing the 37th district in Riverside County, having been elected in a June 8, 2010 special election and sworn into office the next day...

) despite the delay in county clerks certifying election results. The Assembly voted unanimously to seat Gatto.

In November 2010, approximately four and a half months after winning the Special Election, Gatto was on the ballot again, for the fourth time in 2010. Gatto prevailed again, garnering 66.2% of the vote, in a district that is 46.93% Democratic.

Legislative career


In 2010, Gatto introduced legislation to address serious concerns with runaway pension costs for municipal management. Gatto's bill sought to cap the exposure of conservatively managed cities when profligate (or corrupt) cities offer outlandish salaries for top officials. The bill arose from the 2010 City of Bell salary controversy
2010 City of Bell salary controversy
In July 2010, two Los Angeles Times reporters, Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives, wrote an investigative journalism article on possible malfeasance in the neighboring city of Maywood, California. In their exposé, they revealed that Bell city officials were receiving salaries that were reported as the...

, where cities like Glendale were forced to pay the approximately $411,000 annual pension costs for its former employee, the police chief of Bell, California
Bell, California
Bell is a city in Los Angeles County, California. Its population was 35,477 at the 2010 census, down from 36,664 in the 2000 census. Bell is located on the west bank of the Los Angeles River and is a suburb of the city of Los Angeles...

, even though Bell had set the police chief's very high salary.

In the October 2010 Special Session, Gatto authored ACA 4, an enhanced version of a Rainy Day Fund (or "savings account") for the State of California. The proposed constitutional amendment would require the Legislature, during years of strong revenues, to follow a strict program for how to spend the money. First, the state would fulfill all obligations to education. Then, it would take up to 10% of General Fund revenue and put it into a savings account, to be used during years where revenue weakened. After that, the state would be mandated to pay down bond debt, easing the burden on future years. Gatto's Rainy Day Fund legislation passed both houses of the Legislature and was approved by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

.

For the 2011-2012 session, Gatto was named Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore of the California Assembly. He presides over meetings when the Speaker Pro Tempore cannot. He sits on five different committees, including Appropriations; Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, & Internet Media; Water, Parks & Wildlife; Government Organization; and Banking & Finance.

Gatto's 2011 legislative program focuses on good-government legislation and government reform. The hallmark of his legislative package are six bills designed to bring more transparency to election financing, to combat ballot-box budgeting, and to make it harder for special-interest groups to amend the California Constitution. The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

, a conservative worldwide news magazine based in England, ran a Special Report in April 2011 that concluded that such reforms were critical for the future of the state of California.

In addition to several goverment and fiscal-reform measures, one of Gatto's bills in 2011 would have required the state to study enbedding piezoelectric sensors in state highways, which produce electrical energy simply by the vibrations cars and trucks make as they traverse the pavement.

Data analyses done by California newspapers have resulted in Gatto emerging on the top on two hot-button issues. In 2010, he was one of two legislators out of 120 in the California legislature who did not introduce any legislation sponsored by a special interest, a practice he has continued in 2011. In 2011, Gatto was listed as just one of three legislators out of 120 who always "show up to work," missing less than 1% (or just 12) votes in all 2010.

Personal life


Gatto is married to Danielle Gatto, a former Miss Orange County and summa cum laude graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...

. They reside in the Silver Lake
Silver Lake
-Cities and towns:*Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California*Silver Lake, San Bernardino County, California, a ghost town*Helendale, California, also known as Silver Lakes*Plasse, California, formerly known as Silver Lake, in Amador County, California...

neighborhood of Los Angeles and have one daughter, who was born in March 2010.

External links