Perata, Don

Senator, California State Senate (1998-2008)

President Pro Tem, California State Senate (2004-2008) 

Don Perata is an independent consultant working as a strategic consulting advisor with the firm. He advises from a broad experience in California state and local politics and public policy. His forte is helping navigate complex legislative issues and make government work for clients' interests. As former president pro tem of the California State Senate, Don grounds his strategic and tactical advice in the real world of California politics.

Don began his career in public service as a schoolteacher. He went on to serve on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors (1986-1994) and the California State Assembly (1996-1998). In 1998, he was elected to the California State Senate. He served as president pro tem of the Senate from 2004-2008.

As president pro tem, Don oversaw the passage of AB 32, California’s cap and trade regulatory scheme to reduce greenhouse gases.

In 2005-06, Don authored and subsequently directed the campaign that won voter approval for a $38B suite of general obligations bonds to rebuild California’s aging infrastructure, including housing, transportation and water. Perata also wrote and passed a $5B revenue bond to rebuild California’s courthouses. All bonds had bipartisan Democratic and Republican support to gain the necessary two-thirds vote in each house.

Don guided other major legislation in health care, in-home services, water development and conservation and cancer, biomedical and renewable energy. 

In addition to his deep political and institutional background, Don has broad experience in water, infrastructure, energy, and environmental policies, both as an elected official and a consultant. He is versed in the State Water Project, Bay Delta restoration, renewable energy, imported water and water transfers, recycling, conservation, groundwater regulation, local initiative, storage and desalination.

Previous Experience

Senator, California State Senate (1998-2008)

President Pro Tem, California State Senate (2004-2008) 

Practices & Industries
California Water Policy

Don has a broad experience and success in water policy and water politics in California. Don was responsible for two water bonds in 2006, Propositions 84 and 1E, which both won voter approval. As California State Senate president pro tem, he led a bipartisan team of lawmakers, administration officials, providers, end-users, and environmental interests, each with complex, always contentious and often-competitive views, to approve a spending plan keyed to priority needs of regional and statewide importance. 

The following year, Don again worked with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration involving an 18 month-long negotiation for another water bond for conveyance and above ground storage. While unsuccessful, the negotiations were an important precursor to Proposition 1, the water bond approved by voters in November of 2014. 

During his years in the Senate, Don directed and negotiated four budgets with the Schwarzenegger administration and Republican minority leaders, when a 2/3 vote was required to pass the budget.