(Sept. 15) 45-year-old Assemblyman Anthony Rendon's resume features leadership positions at Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services and the California League of Conservation Voters -- belying past struggles that would have disqualified him from most college applications, not to mention high-profile job interviews.
Circuitous routes to public service wind through the backgrounds of plenty of lawmakers, but there was a time when finishing high school -- much less winning public office -- seemed like an uncertain outcome for Rendon.
"I didn't know it went that low either," Rendon said of a GPA that he recalls dipping to a craterous 0.83 at one point.
There's a happy ending. While working in factories and warehouses, including unloading trucks on the graveyard shift, Rendon enrolled in community college -- "it was exceptionally affordable" at the time, he recounts -- and proceeded to earn a master's degree from Cal State Fullerton and a PhD from the University of California, Riverside.
"I was pretty much a product of this state's high-quality, low-cost education system," Rendon said.
One other tidbit: Rendon shares a name with the starting second baseman for the Washington Nationals. It turns out quick wrists and a high draft position go a long way for establishing name-recognition supremacy.
"I hate that guy," joked Rendon, who played catcher, not second base, during a recent Dems versus Reps charity game.