Ashburn was appointed Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus within weeks of being sworn into office. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Defense and Aerospace Industry, Vice Chair of the Rules Committee and the Public Employees and Retirement Committee, and presides over the Appropriations, Government Modernization, Efficiency & Accountability, and Transportation & Housing committees.
Ashburn's work in the California Legislature has included:
Only two years into his term in the State Senate, Ashburn was the Republican candidate in in 2004. He was the strongest Republican to run in the 20th in more than a decade. He was a decided underdog against the Democratic nominee, former state legislator Jim Costa. The 20th is a heavily Democratic, Latino-majority district, and the district's previous incumbent, Democrat Cal Dooley, had held the seat without serious difficulty for 14 years. However, the Republicans more money into the race than was expected for such a heavily Democratic district. Ashburn claimed Costa would vote to raise taxes; in a play on Costa's name, he aired ads saying "Costa's gonna cost ya!" In the end, Ashburn was soundly defeated, taking only 46 percent of the vote to Costa's 54 percent. The race actually wasn't even that close; Ashburn was only able to hold his margin of defeat within single digits by winning heavily Republican Kings County.
Sen. Ashburn has a bachelors degree in Public Administration from California State University, Bakersfield and attended College of the Sequoias in Visalia. He is the father of four daughters, Shelley, Shannon, Stacy and Suzana.