Biography

Senator Tom Berryhill represents the citizens of Amador, Calaveras, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, Tuolumne counties as well as parts of Fresno, Madera, Sacramento, Stanislaus, and Tulare counties. One of the largest and most spectacular districts in the Legislature – the 8th Senate District includes Yosemite National Park, the Central Valley’s beautiful farm lands, and the gorgeous mountain counties of the Sierras. These regions makes some of the nation’s best wine, grow most of its food, and produce the milk and cheese millions of people enjoy. Small business is the backbone of the area. Agriculture, wine making, tourism, and manufacturing--just a few of the region’s industries--contribute billions of dollars to the state’s economy.

Tom is a fourth-generation California farmer who has been active in many community groups, business organizations, and efforts to improve the quality of life in his community. He attended California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, and is a strong supporter of California’s public schools and universities.

Tom was elected to the Assembly in 2006 where he served on the Assembly Utilities and Commerce and Water, Parks, and Wildlife committees. He also served as Vice Chair of the Assembly Agriculture and Human Services committees.

Elected to the Senate in 2010 and reelected in 2014, Tom serves on the Agriculture, Governmental Organization, Human Services, and Insurance Committees.  He is Vice-Chairman of both Governmental Organization and Human Services. In 2016 he was elected by his colleagues to serve on the Senate Committee on Rules, one of the most influential assignments in the Senate. As former Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Vice Chair of the Rural Caucus, he is committed to ensuring rural California has a voice in Sacramento. Working to repeal the fire tax; seeing that additional resources are made available to help rural counties address the problems associated with wildfires and exceptionally high levels of tree mortality; and protecting rural public safety funding are just some of his legislative priorities.

In the Senate he continues his work on common-sense policies that protect taxpayer dollars and help California’s economy. The California Chamber of Commerce as well as many local, 8th Senate District chambers routinely give him top marks for his pro-business voting record. In 2013 he was named the Small Business Senator of the Year and remains a strong advocate for the thousands of small business that are the backbone of California.

Some of Tom’s legislative highlights include:

  • Confronting the issue of metal theft by requiring payment by check with a three-day hold in order to eliminate the quick cash that motivates drug users to commit this crime.
  • Addressing the critical nursing shortage by ensuring that those admitted to nursing school are adequately prepared to complete the programs.  This will increase the graduation rate and result in more nurses for California.
  • Expanding hunting opportunities on private and public lands in a way that improves habitat restoration.
  • Permitting the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART), operated jointly by Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) and Clovis Unified School District (CUSD), to carry on its innovative educational program.
  • Allowing hunters purchasing a hunting license, stamp, or tag to voluntarily release their contact information to the game conservation or hunting-related organization of their choice.
  • Encouraging a revitalization of the state’s fishing industry by replacing the current calendar year fishing license with a 12-consecutive month fishing license.
  • Helping businesses and employees develop a balance between work and family time, by allowing employers and employees to devise a flexible work schedule.

Tom was named the 2013 Small Business Senator of the Year, the American Nurses Association’s California Legislator of the Year for 2008, Friends of California Community Colleges Award for 2008. Tom also received a Certificate of Recognition from the California Association of County Veteran Service Officers in 2010, a Certificate of Excellence from the California Federation of Dog Clubs in 2008; Outstanding Legislator of the Year from the California Sheriffs’ Association in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and Outstanding Legislator from the California Rifle and Pistol Association in 2010. In 2012, the California Waterfowl Association recognized him with the Grant Kenyon Award for outstanding advocacy on the behalf of waterfowl, their habitats, and hunting heritage. He was also named 2012 Legislator of the Year by Donate Life, California.

Senator Berryhill is married to Loretta, and has two daughters.