Posted: 11/28/2009 07:54:41 PM PST

We like and respect Assemblyman Bill Emmerson of Redlands. We have endorsed him in past elections and think he does a good job in the Legislature – to the extent anyone does in that dysfunctional body.

But we’re not so high on his becoming state Sen. Bill Emmerson of Hemet.

Call us old-fashioned – even Bob Stern of the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies would – but we still think representatives of the people should come from among the people they represent.

So Emmerson’s carpetbagger move from San Bernardino County to Riverside County leaves us cold.

Here’s what’s going on. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed state Sen. John Benoit to fill an open seat on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. That will leave the 37th State Senate District without a state senator. Emmerson, who lives in Redlands and headquarters his 63rd Assembly District in Rancho Cucamonga – the district lies entirely in San Bernardino County – announced that he will run to replace Benoit in the special election that will be held to fill the 37th Senate District seat.

To do so, he has moved his residence to Hemet and says he registered to vote in Riverside County a few weeks ago.

Why would he do that? It’s a matter of timing.

Emmerson will be termed out of the Assembly next year, but state Sen. Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga, in whose 31st Senate District Emmerson’s Assembly district lies, won’t be termed out of the Senate until 2012. Rather than spend two years in private life – which seems to us a good thing for any politician to do – Emmerson’s taking his show on the road to Riverside County so he won’t have to spend a couple of years away from Sacramento.

“I think it’s an opportunity for me to continue working on things I started in the Assembly and keep working with people in the Inland Empire,” Emmerson said. He grew up in Hemet and had an orthodontics practice there for 22 years. “It’s my old hometown,” he said.

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