Meet Major General Richard D. Roth

State Senator, 31st Senatorial District

STATE SENATE

Major General Richard D. Roth, USAF (Ret.) was first elected to the State Senate in 2012 and re-elected on November 8, 2016, by a 61-39% margin. In the State Senate, Roth has consistently delivered real results that have transformed how Inland Southern Californians are able to live, work and raise their families.

Roth is married to his wife Cindy who was born and raised in Riverside and is the proud grandfather to two granddaughters, Page, 6, and Parker, 1.

INCREASING ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE

Solving our region and state’s doctor shortage has been a top priority of Roth’s since he first ran for office. In his first year in the State Senate, Roth delivered on his signature campaign pledge to secure full, ongoing funding for the UC Riverside School of Medicine. 

Roth has also championed policies to fund additional physician training in the places that need them most. In 2019, Roth secured a minimum $80 million to expand UC Riverside’s Medical School facility to ensure it can help meet the growing challenges of solving California’s primary care physician shortage. 

In addition to increasing funding for mental healthcare, Roth also supported more than $500 million in state healthcare funding to defend women’s reproductive healthcare from ongoing attacks at the federal level, ensuring we protect these essential resources for cancer screenings, birth control and life-saving treatments. 

CREATING GOOD JOBS & INCREASING ACCESS TO EDUCATION

Creating good jobs for our region has always been one of Roth’s highest priorities. In 2016, his leadership ensured the California Air Resources Board would build their new emissions testing facility in the City of Riverside, bringing high-tech jobs to our community. 

The new facility broke ground in late 2017 and will bring over 400 jobs to Inland Southern California. With time and new research and development, that number could climb to 600.

Roth understands that we need to have a strong workforce to compete for the jobs of tomorrow. Roth supported new funding for Career Technical Education and making college more affordable for our students and families. Roth helped expand the Cal-Grant to summer term students, supported two years of free community college tuition and increased funding to freeze tuition hikes and increase enrollment at UC and CSU campuses.

PROTECTING OUR IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES

Roth knows that diversity makes our state and nation more vibrant and prosperous. At a time when immigrants are facing increased threats at the hands of the federal government, Roth has been a voice for DREAMers, undocumented Californians who were brought to the United States as children and are every bit as American as those born here.

Roth has supported policies to ensure immigrants can live, work and raise their families free from fear and with dignity. He also helped improve healthcare access for undocumented immigrants and their children by expanding Medi-Cal access, including coverage for otherwise eligible undocumented immigrants up to the age of 26.

In the State Senate, Roth will continue to work toward policies that protect immigrant communities and ensure every Californian has the opportunity to pursue and achieve the American Dream.

PROTECTING OUR AIR AND WATER

With the federal government working to roll back key protections that have cleaned up Inland Southern California’s air and water over the last several decades, Roth stood up to defend precious natural resources from special interests. 

The Obama-era Bureau of Land Management decided to halt one particular water pumping project by Cadiz, Inc. over environmental concerns. However, under the new Trump Administration, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt overturned that decision. The Secretary was not unfamiliar with the project; in fact, he used to lobby for Cadiz, Inc.

Roth successfully passed Senate Bill 307, which requires companies like Cadiz, Inc. to apply for appropriate permits from the State Lands Commission. Projects cannot move forward until – and only if – impartial agencies review the science.

Roth’s work to successfully bring the California Air Resources Board’s new emissions testing facility to Riverside will be critical to ensuring our region and state have clean air and we are able to combat childhood asthma and ensure environmental justice for all Inland Southern Californians.

STANDING UP FOR OUR VETERANS

As the highest-ranking military veteran to serve in the California Legislature, Roth understands the importance of supporting those who put everything on the line to defend our nation. Roth successfully delivered funding to deploy a state task force to alleviate the federal government’s outrageous backlog of veterans’ benefits claims.

Roth also delivered critical funding to connect our veterans with real jobs, securing ongoing funding to support the California National Guard’s highly successful Work for Warriors program. The program has connected over 5,000 of California’s military personnel, veterans and military family members with jobs, helping them transition back into civilian life, keep a roof over their head and put food on the table.

 

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

Roth entered active duty in the US Air Force in 1975 and was stationed at Riverside’s 22nd Bomber Wing in 1978. In 1979 Roth transferred from active duty to the Air Force Reserves, serving at Riverside’s March Air Force Base for the next 13 years with Strategic Air Command and Military Airlift Command units.  In 1986, he was named Air Force Judge Advocate of the Year, and in 1992 named California Reservist of the Year. 

By 2004, Roth, now a Major General, had served in the Pentagon, overseeing more than 900 Reserve judge advocates and paralegals and helping manage global Reserve legal forces.  When he retired from the Air Force in 2007 after 32 years of service, Roth had earned numerous awards including the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit, among others.

 

CIVILIAN CAREER

Roth was also a longtime partner with the Riverside-based business law firm of Roth Carney APC, and specialized in labor and employment law for thirty years.  As a managing partner, Roth was in charge of running the business and meeting the payroll.  Roth previously served as an attorney at the National Labor Relations Board and also was an adjunct instructor at the University of California, Riverside’s Graduate School of Management in the University’s Extension Division.