Pat Wiggins Retired State Senator

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RETIRED SENATOR PAT WIGGINS PASSES AWAY AT AGE 73

SANTA ROSA, CA -- Patricia “Pat” Wiggins died Aug. 15, 2013 in Sonoma County, CA, after a long illness.  Pat’s life included a public service as a member of both the California State Assembly and California State Senate.

“Pat lived life to the fullest,” said Guy Conner, Wiggins husband of 30 years. “As a parent, friend and public servant, Pat’s considerable talents and vivacious personality leave the people she touched far better off.”

Wiggins achieved significant local and statewide policy changes that reflected her love of the North Coast and its way of life, including adopting “smart growth” provisions in state planning and funding critical research on the phylloxera virus that devastated vineyards in the 1990s.

"Pat was a great friend and tremendous public servant. I've known her since before I started my career in public office,” said Rep. Mike Thompson. “She was with me in my earliest campaigns. I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for her guidance. Pat devoted her life to public service and to the idea that each of us has a responsibility to make our communities better places. Because of her work, Sonoma County has been left stronger for our kids and grandkids."

A native Californian from Pasadena, she moved to Santa Rosa in 1984.      
  
She was elected to the Santa Rosa City Council in 1994, serving thru 1998. In 1998, Pat won election to the State Assembly. She served three terms, left the Assembly in 2004, and was elected to the State Senate in 2006. Pat retired from the Senate in 2010 after her term ended.

Pat put herself into the public spotlight despite developing a profound hearing deficit later in life, which required technologically advanced hearing aids to overcome.  She rarely spoke of her condition and never let it affect her work.  While some doubted that a severely hearing-impaired person could even effectively campaign for office, Pat’s policy achievements while in office showed a determination and spirit that defined her public service record.

She leaves a legacy of cooperation and innovation, one that shows what communities can do when they pull together. 

Pat actively nurtured the development of other people for public office.  She played a key role in the election of literally scores of local and state elected officials from the North Coast, changing the landscape of local elected bodies toward a more progressive and publicly accountable frame of mind.

Pat was blessed to have a large group of close friends, many of whom came to visit and reminisce with her about their time together, both in and out of politics.

"Pat was always very dedicated to her work, but she did like to kick back and have fun,” said her longtime friend Marty Roberts. “We shared many wonderful trips to the coast and even drove across country one time with her husband Guy and my dog Molly!  She had a wonderful laugh and a twinkle in her eye."

"Not only was she my political savant due to her wide experience, she was also a lot of fun at our family gatherings,” added her cousin, Kathie Reilly.  “Since most of our relatives are back east, we were the "California bunch". I thought it was so cool to have a cousin who was so "with it". She is so blessed to have her wonderful husband Guy, and many, many dear friends. I will sorely miss her."

Pat is survived by her husband, Guy, her two stepsons, Steve Silverman of Scottsdale, Arizona, and James Silverman of Owings Mills, Maryland, and her four grandchildren, Shane, Ava, Leah, and Solana.

A celebration of her life will be held at the Friedman Center in Santa Rosa at 1:00 Sunday, November 3. Contributions in lieu of flowers can be made to the Sonoma Land Trust , or to the Pat Wiggins Fund at Conservation Action Fund for Education

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2009 Women in the Wine Country event on August 23.
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Messages from Senator Wiggins

See a list of Pat's Achievements as State Senator


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