San Diego's Toni Atkins To Become First Woman To Lead California Senate

Sen. Toni Atkins with Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Kevin de León. Courtesy of Atkins’ office

Sen. Toni Atkins with Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Kevin de León. Courtesy of Atkins’ office

Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, after her housing measure was approved by the state Assembly on September 14, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Toni Atkins (D-39th District) is set to become president pro tem of the state Senate.

Atkins, who went from San Diego City Council to Assembly speaker to the Senate, will succeed Sen. Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles.

De Leon says Democrats are unanimously supporting San Diego Democrat Toni Atkins to replace him as Senate President Pro Tem. Himself, the first Latino in more than a century to lead a California legislative chamber, de Leon is busily assembling a campaign challenge to fellow Democrat U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein for her seat. There will be a formal vote on leadership in early January before a transition next year when he will be forced from the Senate by term limits, he said.

In her own statement, Atkins said California's example is more important than ever, given "national divisions".

"Today, I am humbled by the trust my colleagues have placed in me, and I intend to earn that trust every day by working tirelessly and inclusively to keep California a place of opportunity for everyone", she said in a statement.

Atkins was elected to the Senate last November after serving for six years in the Assembly, where she was speaker from May 2014 until March 2016. Voters sent her to the Senate for the first time past year.

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