The Sacramento Seminar began in 1983 and gets its name from the three founders who served together for years in Sacramento in the California Legislature: Assembly Minority Leader Paul Priolo, Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore John T. Knox, and State Senator John Francis Foran.
Paul Priolo graduated from Lincoln High School in San Francisco and served in the Navy in World War II. He then graduated from San Mateo Jr. College and U.C. Berkeley. Mr. Priolo had a long and distinguished career in business, government and politics. While still the owner and operator of a retail establishment, he chaired a major civic project to revitalize the city of Santa Monica's central business district. In 1966, he was rewarded for his efforts and elected to the California Legislature. This was the same year Ronald Reagan was elected governor; both men were residents of Pacific Palisades. As an Assemblyman, Mr. Priolo rose to the highest partisan position, serving three and one half years as Republican Leader. He retired from the Legislature in 1980. Until 1995, when he retired, he had his own lobbying and government relations business. In retirement, Mr. Priolo travelled often to visit family in Germany and Italy. He had a passion for walking, reading, and family, which included three married children and six grandchildren. Mr. Priolo passed away peacefully in 2018 at the age of 91.
John T. Knox was a senior partner in the law firm of Nossaman, Guther, Knox & Elliot in its San Francisco office. Formerly he practiced law in Richmond, California from where he was elected to the State Assembly in 1960. He served in the legislature for twenty years retiring in 1980. Mr. Knox was Chairman of the Local Government Committee for thirteen years, where he sponsored legislation providing for the reorganization of local government in California: The Knox-Nisbet Act was re-codified as the Cortese-Knox Act. He also sponsored the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970 creating environmental impact reports, the Save the Bay bill, a complete revision of the Corporation Laws and the Knox-Keene Act regarding medical plans. Mr. Knox was elected Speaker pro tem of the Assembly in 1975 and served in that position until retirement. His awards include the Bay Area Council Environmental Award of 1970, and the League of California Cities Distinguished Service Award in 1980. Mr. Knox was a graduate of Occidental College and Hastings College of Law and served on the Board of Trustees of both schools. He was also Chairman of the Board of the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance. Mr. Knox passed away at age 92 in 2017.
Former Senator John Foran served in the California Legislature for twenty four years. He was a California State Assembly member 1963 to 1976 and in 1976 was elected to the California State Senate to fill George Moscone's unexpired term (which he vacated upon being elected Mayor). Mr. Foran was chairman of both the Assembly and Senate Transportation Committees and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. In these capacities, he authored several important laws relating to transportation, including legislation which created the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the San Francisco Bay Area, the first regional transportation commission in the State of California; SB 215 in 1981 which allocated the State Transportation Assistance Funds, a multi-billion-dollar transportation funding package; and SB 300 which provided $340 million in transportation funds to California cities and counties. In addition, his esteemed career includes serving as Deputy Attorney General (1959-1962), on the Public Works Board of the State of California (1977-1986), and on the California Transportation Commission (1978-1986). Mr. Foran passed away at age 84 in 2014.