John J. Benoit (born December 1951) is a U.S. politician, currently serving as a Republican member of the California State Assembly, representing the 64th Assembly District, covering Riverside County. He has served in that body since December 2002. A resident of Bermuda Dunes, his prior political experience includes election to the Desert Sands Unified School District Board of Education.
Born in Kankakee, Illinois, Benoit graduated from Notre Dame High School in Riverside and went on to earn an A.A. degree at Riverside City College in 1974. In 1978, he earned a B.S. degree from California State University, Los Angeles and then earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from California State University, San Bernardino in 1993. In 1986, he graduated from the FBI National Academy.
Benoit’s law enforcement career spanned 31 years including two with the Corona Police Department and twenty-nine with the California Highway Patrol. His CHP career included assignments in the Los Angeles basin (patrol, motor officer), Sacramento, Bakersfield, and finally Indio, where he was Area Commander from 1988 until his retirement in 2001. He also served as a Volunteer Fire Captain with the Sunset-Whitney Fire Department in Placer County from 1982 to 1984.
Benoit was elected and served as a member of the Desert Sands Unified School Board from 1999 to 2002. He has also served as a United Way Board member since 1989, serving two terms each as president and general campaign chairperson. He is a past-president of the Indio Rotary, and a parishioner of Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. Assemblyman Benoit is a pilot, holding commercial, multi-engine, and instrument ratings , and an advanced class amateur ham radio operator, call sign WA6IAD.
Mr. Benoit married his wife, Sheryl, in La Crescenta in 1978. She is an Executive Assistant with the Desert Sands Unified School District and together they have two children, Benjamin and Sarah, and are the grandparents of granddaughter Abrielle Benoit.
As a result of his efforts as an Assemblyman to improve education, Mr. Benoit was named 2003 Outstanding Legislator of the Year by the California School Boards Association. Benoit has received a 100% legislative vote rating by the California Chamber of Commerce (2005), California Taxpayers Association (2004), California Farm Bureau Federation (2006), and California Manufacturers and Technology Association (2005). In 2007, he was named Legislator of the Year by the California Rifle & Pistol Association and by the California Narcotic Officers' Association.
The 64th Assembly District covers portions of Riverside County, including Riverside, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Canyon Lake, Indian Wells, Anza, Bermuda Dunes, Idyllwild, March Air Reserve Base, Mountain Center, Quail Valley, Woodcrest and portions of Hemet, Indio, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Perris, Sun City, Temecula, Wildomar, and Winchester.
Benoit was first elected to the State Assembly in 2002, with 63% of the vote, defeating Democrat Robert Melsh. He was re-elected in 2004 with 61%, again defeating Melsh. 2006 marked Benoit's final election, due to term limits, to the State Assembly, defeating Democrat Paul Rasso with 60% of the vote. On June 3, 2008, Assemblyman Benoit defeated former Assemblymember Russ Bogh, by over twenty-four percentage points, to capture the Republican nomination for the 37th State Senate District.
Assemblyman Benoit is vice-chair of the Assembly Insurance Committee and also serves on the Budget Committee, the Budget Subcommittee on Transportation and Information Technology, the Rules Committee, the Joint Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security and the Select Committees on Growth and Infrastructure, Olmstead Implementation, and Wine. He serves as a Whip in the Republican Caucus.