Assemblyman Das Williams has embraced direct mail as a way to inform constituents of local events and has spent $32,335.26 on five mailings during the first four months of his term.

The postage funds come from his $263,000 annual expense allowance, according to Rules Committee chief administrative officer Jon Waldie.

The largest mailing, sent Jan. 13, cost $12,154.71 and went out 61,644 households.

Staffer James Joyce III said Williams uses the mailings as the primary way to announce events and to get people to RSVP. Recently, mailings were sent to 35th District voters regarding town hall meetings on the state budget, open houses and information about Cal Grants.

The State Assembly approves all mailings going out, and the amount members spend on mass mailings is an individual preference, Waldie said.

He said some prefer to send out mailings to their constituents, and some find it’s more efficient to hire additional staff and have them around the district to help constituents.

Williams spends $14,833 per month on salaries for all four of his staff members out of that allowance, according to information gathered through the Legislative Open Records Act. They operate out of the Capitol office and district offices in Oxnard and Santa Barbara.

Williams’ predecessor, Pedro Nava, served from 2004 to 2010 and sent out 57 mailings during his tenure. Some were sent to just 200 addresses, and the largest went out to 80,000, for a total cost of $249,574.63.

The $263,000 allowance is used for travel, staff salaries and office expenses and has been in operation for about 10 years, when the amount dropped from $275,000, Waldie said.

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