Meet Your Portuguese-American Elected Officials in California: Jim Nielsen
State Senator Jim Nielsen
A successful farmer and rancher, Senator Jim Nielsen grew up on a small farm in the San Joaquin Valley and graduated from Fresno State with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business. After college, Jim worked as a ranch foreman and operated the family cattle, field and row-crop ranch. He later founded a company that utilized rice hulls and rice straw for fuel.
Elected to the State Senate in January 2013, Senator Nielsen proudly represents the citizens of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba counties. Senator Nielsen serves as Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on Budget & Fiscal Review, and Vice Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Elections & Constitutional Amendments. He is a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Governmental Organization, the Senate Governance & Finance Committee and the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Nielsen was originally elected to the State Senate in 1978 and served as Republican Leader from 1983 to 1987. In 1990, he was appointed chairman of the California Board of Prison Terms, where he served until 2007. He was elected in November 2008 to represent the North State's 2nd Assembly District in the State Legislature.
The Senator has written and spoken extensively on California public policy, his commentaries have appeared in major newspapers across California.
Jim and Marilyn Nielsen live in Tehama, California. He has two daughters, three sons and three grandchildren. During the visit of Prime-Minister António Costa to California in June of 2018 Senator Nielsen introduced himself as a proud American of Portuguese ancestry.