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Sharon Runner
SR medium shot color.jpg
Member of the California State Senate
from the 21st district
17th district (2011–2012)
In office
March 19, 2015 – July 14, 2016
Preceded bySteve Knight
Succeeded byScott Wilk
In office
February 18, 2011 – December 3, 2012
Preceded byGeorge Runner
Succeeded bySteve Knight (redistricted)
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 36th district
In office
December 2, 2002 – November 30, 2008
Preceded byGeorge Runner
Succeeded bySteve Knight
Personal details
Born(1954-05-17)May 17, 1954
Los Angeles, California
DiedJuly 14, 2016(2016-07-14) (aged 62)
Lancaster, California
Political partyRepublican
George Runner (m. 1973⁠–⁠2016)
(her death)
ResidenceLancaster, California
Alma materAntelope Valley College

Sharon Runner (May 17, 1954 – July 14, 2016) was an American politician. She was a Republican California State Senator, who represented the 21st Senate District at the time of her death, and previously represented the 17th Senate District from 2011 to 2012. She was also a member of the California State Assembly from 2002 to 2008, representing the 36th district. She was the wife of California State Board of Equalization Member George Runner. From 2004 to 2008, then-Senator George Runner and then-Assemblywoman Sharon Runner were the first husband and wife in California history to serve concurrently in the California State Legislature.[1]

Early life

Born Sharon Yvonne Oden in Los Angeles, California and raised in the Antelope Valley, Runner graduated from Antelope Valley High School and attended Antelope Valley College.[2]

Political career

Runner was an officer for the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly and remained active in many Republican groups in the Antelope Valley, including the Palmdale and High Desert Republican Women's Clubs, until her death. She served on the board of California Women Lead, a bi-partisan organization that encourages and empowers women running for public office.[3] She served as President of the board of California's Women's Leadership Association for 2011-12.[2]

During the 2004 Presidential election, Runner served as the California Women's Coalition Chair for the Bush/Cheney Campaign. She was chosen as a delegate to the 2000 and 2004 Republican National Conventions. She worked on several statewide campaigns including Governor Pete Wilson, California Gubernatorial Recall Election, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Meg Whitman for Governor 2010.[2]

In 2009, Runner was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. She served on the board until December 22, 2010.[4] In 2013 Runner began working part-time for the California State Senate Republican Caucus conducting community outreach events.[5] She also ran "The Runner Group," a public relations/marketing company she founded in 1994.[6]

Assembly career

In 2002, Runner was elected to represent the 36th Assembly District and served in the State Assembly for three terms, from 2002 to 2008.[2]

While in the Assembly she served on the Veteran's Committee; Housing Committee; Select Committees dealing with Foster Care; the Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse; as well as the Task Force on the Environment, Energy, and the Economy. She also held key fiscal leadership positions, serving as the Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee and as a member of the Budget Committee and Budget Subcommittee on Education.[2]

During her first term in office, Runner was appointed as Assistant Republican Leader by former Assembly Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.[2]

Jessica's Law

In 2006, along with her husband, Senator George Runner, Sharon Runner authored Proposition 83, California's version of Jessica's Law. The measure passed with the support of 71% of California voters, and passed in 57 of California's 58 counties.[7]

Jessica's Law ensures that all sexual offenders who are convicted of activity with children under the age of 14 are put into a prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years or 25 years to life. It eliminates all "first-offense" sexual offense provisions from California law.

It also eliminates all "good-time" credits for sexual offenders serving prison terms; under the authored provisions they are required to serve their entire sentence and will not be released for good behavior. The law requires that sex offenders who are released from prison wear a GPS bracelet for life.

It also creates a 2,000-foot (615 meter) zone around schools and parks in which registered sex offenders are prohibited from residing.

Senate career

Runner ran for election to the California State Senate, representing the 17th District. The seat was left vacant by her husband, George Runner, who was elected to the State Board of Equalization in November 2010.[8] The primary election took place on February 15, 2011, she defeated Democrat Darren Parker 66%-34% to avoid a runoff.[9]

To focus on her recover from a double lung transplant necessitated by her limited scleroderma, she chose to not seek re-election in 2012[10] and was succeeded by Steve Knight in the renumbered 21st Senate District.

A special election for the 21st Senate District, vacated by Steve Knight who was elected to Congress in November 2014, was held on March 17, 2015.[11] After a successful recruitment effort, Runner decided to enter the race.[12] She was the only candidate on the ballot, and easily won reelection to the Senate with 100% of the vote.[13] Runner was sworn into the State Senate on March 19, 2015, where she would serve until her death the following year.

Community involvement

In 1977, Runner co-founded Desert Christian Schools with her husband, George Runner. It has since grown to become one of the largest private schools in California with nearly 1,700 students on three separate campuses.[14] She served on the Board until her death. Prior to Desert Christian Schools, Runner worked as a licensed realtor with Red Carpet Real Estate Company where she was named "Realtor of the Year."[2]

She volunteered her time on several boards and committees including the United Way, Antelope Valley Hospital Gift Foundation, Antelope Valley Crime Task Force, Healthy Homes Advisory Council, and Care Net, a pregnancy resource center. She also spent five years on the Board of Directors for the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce. In 1998, California Governor Pete Wilson appointed Runner to serve on the Antelope Valley Fair Board of Directors, where she oversaw the operations of the 50th Agriculture District and managed its multimillion dollar budget. She held this position until 2002.[15]

She was involved with her church, Grace Chapel Church in Lancaster, for over 30 years.

Awards and recognitions

In 2013, Runner was awarded the Marian Bergeson Lifetime Achievement Award for her work helping women run for office.[16]

In November 2014 Runner received the Spirit of Leadership Award by the Scleroderma Foundation of Southern California for her advocacy in increasing funding to find a cure for Scleroderma.[17]

Personal life

She married George Runner in 1973. They had a son, Micah, daughter-in-law, Sandy, daughter, Rebekah (who serves in the U.S. Coast Guard), son-in-law, James, and four grandchildren.[2] Through her marriage, Runner was an aunt to Major League Baseball player Casey Fien.[18]

Health and death

Runner was diagnosed with "limited" scleroderma, an autoimmune disease affecting her lungs, in 1984 at the age of 30. On February 24, 2012, Runner underwent a successful double-lung transplant at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.[19] She was released from the hospital ten days later.[20] To focus on her recovery, Runner decided not to seek re-election in the 2012 race for the California Senate.[10]

Runner was a member of the Scleroderma Foundation's Legislative Committee, where she worked to obtain federal funding for scleroderma research. She also sat on the Advisory Committee for Sierra Donor Services, a donor procurement organization in Sacramento, California.[21]

Runner worked and connected regularly with lung transplant patients. In 2014, she was selected as a rider on the 11th annual Donate Life Rose Parade Float along with 29 other donor recipients.[22]

Runner died at her home on July 14, 2016, due to "respiratory complications."[23][24]


  1. ^ "California Legislature Handbook 2007-2008" (PDF). California State Legislature. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-10-11.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "About Sharon Runner". Sharon Runner for State Senate. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  3. ^ "California Women Lead". California Women Lead. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  4. ^ "Sharon Runner, Board Member". State of California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. Archived from the original on November 4, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  5. ^ "Senate Payroll - 2/28/2014" (PDF). California State Senate. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  6. ^ "State Senator Sharon Runner - 17th Senate District". State Council on Developmental Disabilities. Archived from the original on 2015-01-01. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  7. ^ "CA Secretary of State - General Election". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  8. ^ "2010 General Elections Results - Board of Equalization" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-03-13. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  9. ^ "Senate District 17 - Special Election - Elections & Voter Information - California Secretary of State". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2012-08-05. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  10. ^ a b "Senator Sharon Runner won't seek re-election". Antelope Valley Press. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  11. ^ "Governor Brown Issues Proclamation Declaring Special Elections For 7th, 21st and 35th Senate Districts". Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
  12. ^ "Runner Confirms Bid for Knights Senate Seat". SCV News. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
  13. ^ "Sharon Runner only candidate for California's 21st Senate District". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
  14. ^ "Our History". Desert Christian Schools. Archived from the original on March 1, 2011. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  15. ^ "Past Directors of Antelope Valley Fair" (PDF). Antelope Valley Fair. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 12, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  16. ^ "Women of Character Awards Dinner". Laguna Niguel Republican Women Federated. Archived from the original on 2015-01-01. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  17. ^ "Scleroderma Foundation Key to a Cure Gala". Scleroderma Foundation, Southern California Chapter. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  18. ^ "This pitcher has government backing". Detroit Free Press. December 7, 2008. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008.
  19. ^ "State Sen. Sharon Runner has double lung transplant, will return to work, says husband". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  20. ^ "Sen. Sharon Runner goes home early after lung transplant". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  21. ^ "Rose Parade Float - 2014 Rider - Sharon Runner". Donate Life. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  22. ^ "Donate Life California Sponsors Former State Senator Sharon Runner on 2014 Donate Life Rose Parade Float". Donate Life California. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  23. ^ Myers, John (July 14, 2016). "State Sen. Sharon Runner, longtime Republican lawmaker, dies at 62". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  24. ^ Cadelago, Christopher (July 14, 2016). "State Sen. Sharon Runner has died". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved July 14, 2016.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
George Runner
California State Assemblymember
36th District
December 2, 2002 – November 30, 2008
Succeeded by
Steve Knight
California State Senator
17th District
February 18, 2011 – December 3, 2012
Preceded by
Steve Knight
California State Senator
21st District
March 19, 2015 – July 14, 2016
Succeeded by
Scott Wilk
This page was last edited on 1 January 2020, at 17:58
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