The Shafter Democrat cited a desire to spend more time with his family in a statement released today, saying he "realized that my current professional path has left little opportunity to be home for those who are most important to me, which is why I am making a change."
"My wife and I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters, from whom we have learned a great deal," he said. "Our youngest child, who has special needs, has given me great perspective as to life's priorities and our eldest has reminded me that the most critical decisions are made at home and not under the Capitol dome."
Rubio, who was elected to the state Senate in 2010, dropped plans to run for Congress in 2012 after his daughter was diagnosed with Down syndrome. One of the upper house's most moderate members, Rubio was leading a push to overhaul the California Environmental Quality Act. He was named chair of the Environmental Quality Committee last year and has worked closely with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on drafting legislation for the upcoming session.
Rubio said in the statement that his resignation is effective today. His decision means Senate Democrats will temporarily lose their supermajority, as two other Democratic seats are currently vacant. A special election will be held to fill his seat for the remainder of his term.
PHOTO CREDIT: State Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield, left, a member of the Senate Transportation and Housing committee, explains to Sen. Doug La Malfa, R-Willows why he would vote against La Malfa's proposal to put a $68 billion high-speed rail plan back before California voters, during a hearing at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Tuesday, April 17, 2012. After more than an hour of testimony La Malfa was granted his request to postpone the committee's vote on the bill. He did not say when he would seek a vote.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)