SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — San Diego Democrat Toni Atkins has been sworn in as the 69th speaker of the state Assembly.
Atkins, who is 51, took the oath Monday during a ceremony that was attended by Gov. Jerry Brown. Her term in the 80-member house ends in two years.
She assumes the role amid negotiations over a nearly $107 billion state budget and an $11 billion water bond that all sides want to change before it goes to a vote in November.
Atkins grew up poor in Appalachia and implored lawmakers to remember the needs of low-income Californians. She identified homelessness and affordable housing as top priorities.
She is the first open lesbian to lead a California legislative chamber and succeeds Democrat John Perez, who was the first openly gay lawmaker in the role.
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