Former State Senator Milton Marks
“When after two years of study by experts, I proposed a series of reorganization measures in 1961, a Republican assemblyman came down to the executive offices to see me. And I can tell you that Assemblyman Milton Marks here on my left was that assemblyman, and he indicated his general sympathy and support for the proposals, and then he offered a suggestion of his own. What he proposed was a bipartisan citizens’ commission which would be created simultaneously to watch and participate in this process of change. I accepted his proposal and it became an important part of the whole reorganization program … I am, therefore, grateful to your Vice Chairman, Assemblyman Milton Marks, for his initiative in the legislation which led to today’s meeting.”
- Governor Pat Brown, April 24, 1962, excerpted from first Little HooverCommission meeting
As a member of the Assembly, Milton Marks authored legislation in 1962 creating the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy. The agency, modeled after a federal commission chaired by former President Herbert Hoover, was fashioned as a bipartisan panel charged with promoting economy and efficiency and improved services to the public.
Senator Marks served on the panel, more commonly known as the Little Hoover Commission, from its founding in 1962 until 1993. That same year, the Legislature renamed the agency the Milton Marks Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy. Senator Marks left the Senate in 1996, ending a 38-year career as a California lawmaker. Senator Marks died in 1998 at the age of 78.
During his tenure, the Commission issued more than 100 reports to the Governor and the Legislature advocating improvements to the state’s internal operations, as well as programs that serve and protect Californians – from the nurturing of infants in foster care to the enforcement of nursing home regulations.
Throughout, Senator Marks worked to make the Commission a venue where people from various political perspectives could work toward the common goal of improving government operations.
At the Commission’s initial meeting on April 24, 1962, then Assemblymember Marks said: “The purpose of seeking to have people from both political parties on it was to have a wise spectrum of interest throughout the State, to cut down partisanship, to have an area where we could all sit down as Californians and not as partisans and work upon this important problem.”