Jay Obernolte
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Jay Obernolte

Jay Obernolte
Jay Obernolte 117th U.S Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 8th district

January 3, 2021
Paul Cook
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 33rd district

December 1, 2014 - November 30, 2020
Tim Donnelly
Thurston Smith
Personal details
Jay Phillip Obernolte

(1970-08-18) August 18, 1970 (age 50)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Heather Obernolte
(m. 1996)
ResidenceBig Bear Lake, California, U.S.
WebsiteHouse website

Jay Phillip Obernolte ( OH-b?r-nohl-tee; born August 18, 1970) is an American politician, businessman, and video game developer serving as the U.S. Representative for California's 8th district. He was previously a Republican member of the California State Assembly representing the 33rd district. Prior to serving in the Assembly, Obernolte served in the city council and was the mayor of Big Bear Lake, California. He is the owner, president, and technical director of FarSight Studios, an American video game developer established in 1990.

Early life and education

Obernolte was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Fresno, California.[1][2] He graduated from Edison/Computech High School in 1988. In 1992, he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and applied science from California Institute of Technology and in 1997, he received his Master of Science in artificial intelligence from the University of California, Los Angeles.[3]



Obernolte launched FarSight Studios, an independent developer and publisher of family-friendly video games for the PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Apple iPhone and PC, in 1990. Notable games FarSight Studios has developed include Game Party, Hotel for Dogs and Pinball Hall of Fame.[3][4] FarSight Studios claims Sony, Microsoft, Google, and Apple among its clients and employs 25 workers.[5]


In 2005, Obernolte was elected to the Big Bear City Airport Board where he served for five years. He then served as President of the board for three years and as Vice President for one year.[3][6][7]

In 2010, Obernolte was elected to Big Bear City Council, where he served as Mayor.[3] Obernolte also served on the Big Bear Lake Fire Protection Board, director of the Mojave Desert and Mountain Integrated Waste JPA Board, the Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority Board, and on the League of California Cities Desert-Mountain Division.[5][8]

Obernolte has served as State Assemblyman for California's 33rd State Assembly district, which encompasses a wide expanse of the High Desert (areas of the Mojave Desert), from the eastern fringes of Los Angeles metropolitan area to the Nevada and Arizona borders, since 2014.

2014 California State Assembly election

On February 10, 2014, Obernolte announced his candidacy for the California State Assembly to succeed California Republican Party Tim Donnelly in the 33rd district.

Obernolte was endorsed by the California Republican Party,[9] San Bernardino County Republican party, the California Republican Assembly,[10][11] The Press-Enterprise,[12] the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association,[13] Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC),[14] San Bernardino County Safety Employee's Benefit Association (SEBA),[15] the California Conservative Christians,[16] and the Independent Voter Political Action Committee.[17]

In the June 2014 primary, Obernolte finished second with 18.89% of the vote with 7,887 votes and faced Democrat John Coffey in the November 2014 general election, winning with 65.9% of the vote.[18]

2014 California's 33rd State Assembly district election
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Coffey 9,865 23.1
Republican Jay Obernolte 8,028 18.8
Republican Michelle Ambrozic 7,566 17.7
Republican Rick Roelle 6,574 15.4
Republican Art Bishop 5,956 14.0
Republican Brett Savage 1,811 4.2
Republican Scott Markovich 975 2.3
Republican Jerry J. Laws 814 1.9
Republican Robert J. "Bob" Burhle 802 1.9
Republican Robert Larivee 299 0.7
Total votes 45,690 100.0
General election
Republican Jay Obernolte 46,144 65.9
Democratic John Coffey 23,828 34.1
Total votes 69,972 100.0
Republican hold

2016 California State Assembly election

On January 25, 2016, Obernolte announced he would seek a second term as the representative for California's 33rd Assembly District[19] to face Scott Marcovich, a contractor.[20]

In the June 2016 primary, Obernolte finished first with 60.7% of the vote with 43,526 votes and faced Democrat Scott Markovich in the November 2016 general election, winning with 60.6% of the vote.

2016 California's 33rd State Assembly district election
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jay Obernolte (incumbent) 43,526 60.7
Democratic Scott Markovich 28,220 39.3
Total votes 71,746 100.0
General election
Republican Jay Obernolte (incumbent) 84,000 60.60
Democratic Scott Markovich 56,086 39.4
Total votes 140,086 100.0
Republican hold

2018 California State Assembly election

2018 California's 33rd State Assembly district election
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jay Obernolte (incumbent) 43,100 65.8
Democratic Socorro Cisneros 12,566 19.2
Democratic Scott Markovich 9,854 15.0
Total votes 65,520 100.0
General election
Republican Jay Obernolte (incumbent) 72,109 60.2
Democratic Socorro Cisneros 47,603 39.8
Total votes 119,712 100.0
Republican hold

U.S. House of Representatives



In September 2019, after Paul Cook announced his retirement from California's 8th congressional district, Obernolte announced his intention to run.[21][22][23] Obernolte's biggest concerns are taking care of veterans and holding the VA accountable, securing the border and cracking down on human and drug trafficking, and lowering taxes. He also supports creating jobs and helping small businesses, working with public safety officials to reduce the number of gangs and violent criminals, and cutting wasteful government spending to address the federal budget deficit.[24]

On February 12, 2020, President Donald Trump endorsed Obernolte on Twitter.[25][26][24]


On January 6, 2021 Rep. Obernolte voted against certification of the 2020 presidential election.[27] He also voted against the second impeachment of Donald Trump.[28]

On February 4, 2021, Obernolte voted against the removal of Marjorie Taylor Greene of her House Education and Labor Committee, and House Budget Committee assignments in response to controversial political statements she had made. Only 11 Republicans had crossed party lines and supported the Democrats.[29]

On February 25, 2021 Obernolte voted against the Equality Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to explicitly include new protections.[30]

In March 2021, he voted against the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.[31]

Committee assignments[32]

Caucus Memberships

Political actions

Caucuses and committees

In January 2016, Obernolte was elected to served on the California Legislative Technology and Innovation Caucus, which is co-chaired by Assemblymembers Ian Calderon and Evan Low.[34] Obernolte also sits on the following committees: Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media as Vice Chair; Budget as Vice Chair; Appropriations; Budget Subcommittee 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation; Budget Subcommittee 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation; Utilities and Commerce; Joint Committee on Arts; and Joint Legislative Budget.[35][36]

2020 election results

In January 2021, Obernolte voted with six other California representatives (Darrell Issa, Mike Garcia, Doug LaMalfa, Ken Calvert, Devin Nunes and Kevin McCarthy) to reject the certification of Pennsylvania votes cast during the 2020 presidential election.[37] He stated "earlier this week I swore an oath to protect and defend our constitution, which is why I will support the objection to Electoral College results for states where election practices were changed without the consent of that state's legislature...this is not a partisan decision, and I will support those objections regardless of which presidential candidate won an affected state."[38]

Fire tax and fire insurance

Obernolte authored Assembly Bill 1642, which would extend the deadlines to either pay the fire tax, which is a state fire prevention fee, or file a petition for redetermination from 30 days to 60 days.[39] In July 2017, the fire fee was suspended as part of Assembly Bill 398.[40]

Obernolte opposes raising fire insurance costs, which is calculated by factors in the risk of wildfire, fuels, slope and road access for emergency vehicles.[41]

Minimum wage

Obernolte opposes increases in the minimum wage. In an April 2016 op-ed published in the San Bernardino Sun, Obernolte wrote on the effects of increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. He wrote that "income inequality is the defining challenge of our generation" and the recent push to increase the minimum wage "is an effort to address the very real problem that wages are less than we feel they should be. However, we need to remember that income inequality is the result of a multitude of factors -- among them, globalization, technological change, the efficient employment of capital and changing institutions. In other words, low wages are a symptom of the problem of income inequality, not the root cause of income inequality."[42]

Frontier Communications

In April 2016, Frontier Communications took over Verizon's voice, video, data, and FiOS network. In May 2016, Obernolte voiced his concern over Frontier Communications' acquisition of Verizon services noting that it has "negatively affected my constituents... It is particularly disturbing to me that the public safety of our residents has been threatened by the faulty landline telephone service they have experienced since the (acquisition)."[43]


In May 2016, Obernolte introduced Assembly Bill 2341, which would provide San Bernardino and other rural counties with additional judges to resolve backlogged court systems. "San Bernardino County currently faces an unacceptable shortage of judicial officers. My hope is that this bill will provide the necessary judicial resources to alleviate this critical problem" Obernolte said.[44] The bill would have shifted seats from Santa Clara and Alameda counties to the counties in San Bernardino but it died in the Senate Appropriations Committee without a hearing.[45][46]

In January 2017, Obernolte released a statement on his opposition to Xavier Becerra's nomination as California's Attorney General stating, "While Congressman Becerra possesses many of the qualifications necessary in an Attorney General, many of his positions on constitutional issues deeply concern me. His stances on both the First and Second Amendments clearly don't align with my values or those of my constituents. California's Attorney General should be committed to protecting these Constitutional rights."[47]


Every year, California State Assemblymembers select a veteran in their district to be recognized as the Veteran of the Year and honored in Sacramento with a ceremony and luncheon. In 2015, Obernolte awarded Hesperia Chamber of Commerce President Brad Letner.[48][49] In 2017, Anthony "Tony" Cooker was recognized as the 2017 Veteran of the Year for the 33rd Assembly District.[50] In 2019, he recognized United States Army Veteran Ed Morgan as Veteran of the Year.[51]

In 2016, Obernolte sponsored approved Assembly Concurrent Resolution 180, which dedicates a stretch of California State Route 247 (SR-247) to the late Sgt. Brian L. Walker.[52]

California budget

Obernolte stated that Governor Jerry Brown's $179.45 billion budget proposal, which focused on "long-term fiscal responsibility", was "responsible", although he expressed a preference for fixing existing programs over creating new ones. Obernolte also stated an interest in funding job skills training, improving the state's Denti-Cal program, repairing infrastructure, and working on the housing crisis. Obernolte pushed for lawmakers to limit long-term funding commitments and also noted that the budget proposal does nothing to address the "state's out-of-control pension debts and retiree health care liabilities."[53]

California Roll - AB 1103

Obernolte co-authored Assembly Bill 1103, which would have allowed California bicyclists to roll through stop signs if it was safe to do so. The bill was based on a law adopted by Idaho in 1982. Under the proposed legislation, cyclists would be authorized to "[approach] a stop sign, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way, to cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping, unless safety considerations require otherwise."[54][55] The bill died in committee.[56]

Foreign Policy

In June 2021, Obernolte was one of forty-nine House Republicans who voted in favor of the repeal of the AUMF against Iraq.[57][58]

Personal life

Obernolte married his wife Heather in 1996 and together they have two sons: Hale and Troy.[59][60] The family has lived in Big Bear Lake since 1997.[3]

Obernolte holds an airline transport pilot's license. He is also a certified flight instructor and has flown light aircraft since 2005. He worked with Embraer as a member on its Pilot Advisory Board during the development of the Phenom 300.[61][62][63][64] Obernolte is a member of the Young Eagles, a program created by the US Experimental Aircraft Association designed to give children an opportunity to experience flight in a general aviation airplane while educating them about aviation.[3][65]

Obernolte holds a third-degree black belt in Pacific Unified Martial Arts and is co-owner and instructor at PUMA Karate in Big Bear Lake.[3][66]


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  2. ^ Get to know a freshman: Jay Obernolte
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External links

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