College of Agriculture


Rusty Areias

Rusty Areias' long and successful record of public service is characterized by his ability to balance complex issues, especially environmental, land-use, transportation, agriculture and water, into legislative and public policy success. His ability to bring people together and achieve bipartisan solutions is most evident in the more than 100 pieces of legislation he authored as a legislator that were signed into law by two different Republican governors. Areias served 12 years in the California Assembly, representing Merced, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara counties. He chaired the Agriculture; Earthquakes, Repair and Response; and Consumer Protection committees, working to strengthen the agricultural economy, preserve farmland, increase seismic safety standards, lower credit card interest rates and stand up for consumer rights. He also served on the Transportation Committee and led the successful effort to secure funds for improvement of Highway 152 over the Pacheco Pass.

As Director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, he cut park fees in half, boosting attendance at state parks by 23 million visitors. He also oversaw the passage of two major park bonds, totaling more than $6 billion. He served four years as a California Coastal Commissioner, including two years as chairman. His term was characterized by problem-solving and bringing a sense of reasonableness back to the Commission's decisions.

Prior to his public service, Areias managed the day-to-day operations of the Areias Dairy farms and received numerous awards for farming excellence. In 1982, Areias was awarded the prestigious Outstanding Young Farmer in America.

Areias and his wife are the proud parents of two children. As of 2013, he is currently a Principal of California Strategies, LLC.