A Different Kind of Legislator

In her first term in the Assembly, Catharine has lived up to her pledge to be a different kind of legislator – one who works across party lines to get things done. She wrote legislation to better prevent child abuse in schools, to make the Bay Bridge oversight authority more transparent and accountable, and to offer veterans support in finding new careers when they return to civilian life. All these bills passed with unanimous, bipartisan support and were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. She has authored legislation to improve California’s transportation system and water infrastructure; modernize California’s schools so all children, regardless of the zip code they live in, can receive a great education; to make higher education accessible and affordable for California residents, and to make the state more accountable and financially disciplined with taxpayer funds. It’s no surprise the Contra Costa Times said, “Baker shows the Legislature there’s room for bipartisanship.”

A Leader Making Our Schools Better

Catharine has been leading the way in supporting new ideas to make California’s schools better for all children. She authored legislation to lift the damaging cap on local school reserves and restore local control, to reform tenure to support good teachers and offer them more professional development, and to increase STEM curriculum to better educate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Finding Creative Solutions

Catharine is known for finding creative solutions to challenges facing our community. Her first act as a Legislator was to decline a state car and the extra pay Legislators receive as a perk of the job. The first bill Catharine authored was to prevent future BART strikes. Her idea was a creative solution, it was fair to both BART workers and riders, and simply closed the loophole that allows BART workers to strike even after they continue to receive pay under an expired contract. The Contra Costa Times wrote that herattempt to end BART strikes deserves high marks for creativity.”

Active in Our Community

An active parent leader in local schools, Catharine served on numerous local school improvement committees and on a preschool board. She is a Trustee with the Diablo Regional Arts Association, supporting arts education opportunities for families and school children. She is active in local Scouting with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, serving as an archery instructor and camp volunteer. As small business counsel at Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel law firm in Pleasanton, Catharine’s practice is helping local small businesses and non-profit organizations get started and succeed.

Catharine is a native Californian. She earned her BA degree from the University of Chicago, overcoming cancer her senior year to graduate Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her JD degree from UC Berkeley School of Law. Catharine is married to her college sweetheart, Dan, and they have two school-aged children, twins.


  • California School Boards Association 2017 Legislator of the Year for her support of local school funding and performance.
  • March of Dimes Legislative Champion Award for “outstanding leadership, passion, and courage on key bills to support infant, child and maternal health”
  • The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network California Distinguished Advocacy Award for leadership on anti-tobacco reforms
  • California Common Cause 2017 We the People Award for leadership in advancing inclusive democracy
  • The Clean Money Campaign 2016 Champion of Clean Money Award
  • The National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) 2017 Elected Women of Excellence Award winner
  • Developmental Disabilities Council Outstanding Legislator Award
  • Early Edge California Early Learning Champion Award 
  • Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County 2017 "Making A Difference" Award
  • Crime Victims United Legislator of the Year