Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, was elected as the state’s 69th Assembly speaker in a swearing-in ceremony on Monday afternoon.
Speaker Atkins has many accomplishments as a policy-maker, ranging from health care to issues affecting veterans, and affordable housing.
“As admirable as her accomplishments are and as endearing as her Appalachian charm is, they are not why we elect her as our next Speaker,” said Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara. “It is her convictions, organization, integrity and graciousness.”
Atkins, who was elected to the leadership post in March, will be the third woman to assume the speakership and the first speaker from San Diego. She is also the first lesbian to hold the title; current Speaker John Pérez, D-Los Angeles, was the state's first openly gay lawmaker.
“As the daughter of a southwestern Virginia coal miner, she believes that all Californians need the determination and opportunity to work hard and strive hard to be a part of the American Dream,” Williams said.
After college, she moved to San Diego, where she worked in community health clinics before moving into politics. She served eight years on San Diego's City Council before joining the Legislature. She was elected to the Assembly in 2010 and has served as majority floor leader since 2012.
She will be termed out of office in 2016.
— Josh Molina represents Assemblyman Das Williams.