Lois Henry, The Bakersfield Californian's longtime columnist, is leaving the newspaper.

Her final column will be Aug. 27.

Henry started at The Californian as a correspondent in 1990 covering eastern Kern County, including Edwards Air Force Base and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.

She came on board full-time in 1992 and reported on topics ranging from social services to City Hall.

It was during that time that Henry broke what became a national story known as "junkies on the dole" where addicts and alcoholics received supplemental security income benefits directly.

Because it often took so long to be approved, many people received thousands of dollars in lump-sum payments. Henry chronicled how those payments often led to fatal overdoses.

Former Congressman Bill Thomas, R-Bakersfield, took note of the stories and used them to change the rules. Now, addicts and alcoholics must have a responsible payee who receives the money and pays the recipient's rent and other basics.

In 1993, she took over The Californian's state bureau, reporting on the Legislature in Sacramento.

She returned and took over the oil beat, which she kept until being promoted to city editor in 1997, then assistant managing editor.

After 10 years of management, Henry asked to be allowed to start a twice-weekly column.

Her columns have covered a wide array of topics, which have delighted and irked readers in equal measure.

Columns on her most revisited topic — water — have given readers up and down the state an inside look at how this precious resource is moved, traded and used on a regular basis.

When asked to sum up her long career, Henry was succinct: "It's been fun."

She will move on to a new career as the advocacy director for BizFed Central Valley, a non-profit group dedicated to helping local businesses become more civically involved.

(11) comments

Cianne McGinnis

There has been a lot of sad news in the newspaper for quite some time now but losing Lois Henry is one of the worst. That woman has brass b__lls! I'm 67 years old but I still want to be her when I grow up. She has taken on some of the most prominent people in Bakersfield and her rousing cry of "cowboy up" will be missed. Try hard to find someone who can live up to her standards and for god's sake no good ole boys!

Gene Beley

Lois Henry was the best reporter on the water wars in all of California--which is saying a lot. Your newspaper and journalism in general will suffer a huge loss. Sorry to see her go!


The KCFD will miss you greatly Lois. For reals.

Patrick Pine

Thank you Lois Henry. While I did not always agree with your point of view - I learned from you and often agreed with you based on what you shared. You have made a positive contribution.


Oh no! You were one of the bright spots at the Californian, Lois. Very sad to hear you're leaving... but I know you'll take your light with you and illuminate corners wherever you go. If you ever need anything, you know where to find me. :)


Aside from using a picture that is at least 25 years old, Lois has always reported with 100% honesty. I wish her well.

dang....really....she always got my dander up.......Vote Blue in 2018


Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote "If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects."

Lois Henry, through the platform provide by this paper, has often forced the "the broad light of day" upon various issues and the people involved. Some of these issues have been of keen interest to me and some not so much, but she fulfilled a vital role in informing a public which is often ignorant of or apathetic regarding the necessity of speaking truth to power.

While I wish Lois the best of success in her next job, I am much more concerned that this paper is able to find a suitably gifted substitute. We need it.


Best news I could hear, but I would of figured she was going to Venezuela to run the country "in her opinion" not gonna miss you a bit. Do us a favor and take the equally opinionated Danny Morrison with you.


Lois has been a benefit to Bakersfield and I shall miss her insightful commentary. Whether you agree with her or not she has done a great job


As one who grew up in Ridgecrest, cared deeply about the surrounding areas, and who went on to a career in animal sheltering, I will so miss your honesty and courage in calling it as you always saw it. I will so miss your columns!!!!

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