California State Senator Ben Hueso (D-40th District) briefly addressed DUI charges against him Friday, saying they should not affect his ability to do his job.
Hueso, a Democrat from San Diego, was arrested Aug. 22 in Sacramento for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. He was recently offered a lesser “wet reckless” driving charge, which carries a lesser penalty.
Prosecutors say he was offered the lesser charge because of the difficulty in proving cases where defendants register only 0.08, which was Hueso’s blood alcohol content at the time of his arrest, according to CHP officers. There is the possibility of a “scientific error factor” in the tests used to prove people are legally drunk.
During a taping of NBC 7's "Politically Speaking" show Friday morning, Hueso made it clear he wasn't interested in discussing these recent misdemeanor charges, but when asked about them, he answered curtly and matter-of-factly.
When asked how the black mark on his record might impact his future ability to be an effective lawmaker, he said, “I don’t think it will impact it at all.”
When asked if he was worried his supporters would no longer back him, he said, “Not at all.”
Hueso did tell NBC7 off-camera that he thinks the media has been, in his words, "overzealous” and “very aggressive” reporting the story of his arrest. He did indicate he regretted the incident.
Appearing remorseful, he told an NBC7 reporter that he should hold himself to a higher standard.
Discussing another topic during the taping, Hueso talked about legislation he introduced for a massive $7.2 billion water bond package to be decided by voters in November. It's some of the first money for state-funded dams in nearly 30 years.
“It’s a very good, scientifically-based legislation that will really address a severe problem that we have in our state, and it was hard for people not to vote for that when it was put before them,” he said.
In the final hours before the legal deadline, legislators were scrambling with last minute compromises to attract enough Republican votes for the bipartisan deal.
“I think what we wanted to do was put the most prudent policy forward based on science: What does our state need?” Hueso said. “There’s been speculation that there were agreements between Republicans and Democrats. Really, it was a debate about people pushing the most important projects that are going to get our state through the most important years in the future.”