Gordon Cologne served for 10 years in the California Legislature during the 1960s and early 1970s while the California State Water Project was being built.
His interest in water issues began from his early life in the Coachella Valley desert. An attorney, he worked in both the public sector in Washington, D.C, and then in private practice in California. He also served his local community as a member of the city of Indio City Council, including as mayor, before his decision to run for election to fill an open seat in the Assembly.
In 1965 he decided to run for the Senate, where he served until 1972. As a senator, he chaired the Senate Committee on Water Resources, where he is recognized for his role in championing water quality issues that culminated in the Legislature’s passage and Governor Ronald Reagan’s signing into law of the California Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act.
Enacted in 1970, it was heralded as the nation’s strongest anti-pollution law and was used as a model for the federal Clean Water Act. Cologne’s career path took a new turn in 1972 when Reagan appointed him to Division One of the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District. He retired from the bench in 1984. He later became of counsel to Best Best & Krieger.