Brian Nestande, Former State Lawmaker Gone to0 Soon [A Friend’s Tribute]

Brian Nestande was 60 years young when he passed away quietly at his desert home on Tuesday. He was an amazing man.  Born In Minnesota, raised in Orange County, and a graduate of Canyon High School in Anaheim Hills and California State University Fullerton, Brian was elected to the State Assembly and served three terms.

Brian was a skilled political campaign manager, and worked in the House of Representatives for Michael Huffington, Sony Bono, and Mary Bono. Each a member of the House of Representatives. Brian served as Chief of Staff for both Mary and Sonny Bono.

He served as a consultant the past few years after stepping down as the deputy county executive officer for Riverside County.  Brian had clients from all types and many sectors including wind energy, health care, and telecommunications to name a few.

Nestande also worked with clients in the eastern valley who sought to create a new community. Brian worked with the late County Supervisor Roy Wilson to create the new unincorporated community of “Vista Santa Rosa” in 1999.

He worked tirelessly in the state Legislature to elevate awareness of the need to save and restore the Salton Sea. He did the same as Deputy County Executive Officer.

In 2016 he was named to the governing board that oversees the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway board.  He had served as chair and was recently elected its treasurer. He was appointed to that post by Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. The tramway remains the entire county’s No. 1 tourist attraction.

Brian Nestande, Former State Representative, Dead

Supervisor V. Manuel Perez

“I am heartbroken and full of sadness to tell you all that our dear friend, ally, mentor and brother, Brian, is now with God,” Perez said. “We came into the State Assembly together in 2008, representing the Coachella Valley from different viewpoints of the political spectrum, and formed a companionship that grew closer with every late evening working to help our state through the Great Recession. We kept our partnership going, in a true spirit of bipartisanship, working as a team to serve Riverside County and our Fourth District constituents. Brian will be remembered as a devoted advocate for Riverside County. I always appreciated his perspective and, more than anything, my family including my wife, my parents, my sons, my extended family, will miss his presence. That’s how much we all loved Brian. Brian leaves a beautiful family, who are all in our prayers during this tough time.”

Brian was the son of political powerhouse Bruce Nestande. His dad served in the Legislature, was a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and so worked for Gov. Ronald Reagan. Brian was fond of his photo with President Reagan that was taken in the White House Oval Office.

His mother Beverly, who passed away in 2000 was a successful lady in her own right. She had a passion for people and worked at Olive Crest, a home for abused and neglected children for many years. Beverly and Bruce raised a wonderful son, brother, and father. He possessed their qualities of service and compassion.

Brian worked hard in high school and college where he was making his own way. He actually drove boats in the harbor of Newport Beach and did bottom cleaning on boats of all types and sizes — one of the toughest jobs around a marina, or anywhere for that matter.

He was a baseball fan, too. He could often be found at a Los Angeles Angels Day game with family and friends. The Orange County-raised man was an Angels fan. Win or lose, he was a devoted fan. It’s tough being a Halo’s fan in So Cal but despite peer pressure he never bailed on the Angels — or a friend for that matter.

Brian was a proud husband and dad. He and his wife Gina shared seven children.  He enjoyed spending quality time with his family. He played a key role in Gina’s landslide and record-setting victory for Palm Desert City Council years ago. Gina set the record for number of votes cast in a Palm Desert election. Pretty awesome couple.

Sporting events and graduations from middle, high school, and college of his kids were a source of great pride for him. It seemed he was always balancing family and work.

He was a great friend and advisor to many, and his clients and colleagues held him in high regard. He achieved much in a life that was too short. He left California a better place and will be sorely missed.

Brian will be sorely missed by his family and friends. He left his mark on California and made a difference.

He is survived by his wife Gina, son Hayden, daughter Sophia, stepchildren Sadie, Tad, Mason, Molly, and Savana.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Rest in peace.





Image Sources

  • 2024-Brian-Nestande-Memoriam-800×568 (1): Illustration