Legislative leadership continued to change this week as the Assembly announced a new Assembly Speaker, Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) to replace Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) who will be termed out next year. Rendon will assume the Speakership when the legislature reconvenes in January. This follows a flurry of over action which started last week when the Senate Republicans voted to replace Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) with Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield). The caucus had elected Fuller to replace Huff several months ago but the transition was not expected to take place until November. Speaker Atkins then set a letter to Assembly Democrats requesting no change in leadership occur until next January. There were rumors over the weekend of various members trying to line up votes including freshman Assemblymember Autumn Burke who was rumored to have ten votes.
In a statement issued announcing the decision, Speaker Atkins said, “With the crush of business facing us in the coming final week of the legislative session, I decided it’s time to end all the suspense and speculation so we can focus our undivided attention on the critical issues before us,” Speaker Atkins said. “The Caucus has made an excellent choice, and I’m delighted to see everyone uniting behind Assemblymember Rendon. I know he will find the job as rewarding and challenging as I do.”
“I am deeply honored to have the support of my colleagues to become the next Speaker,” Assemblymember Rendon said. “I also know I have a very tough act to follow, which is why I’ll be working to learn as much as I can from Speaker Atkins as she leads us through the end of session and into next year. I am proud to be part of the Speaker’s team as we finish a very productive year and prepare for more successes in 2016.”
Rendon currently serves as Chair of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee. Prior to serving in the Assembly, he was an educator, non-profit executive director, and environmental activist.
Earlier in the week, the Assembly Republicans announced they had selected Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) to serve alongside Assembly Republican Leader Kristen Olsen (R-Modesto) until the legislature reconvenes next year in January. Assemblymember Olsen is considering challenging State Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) next year. Assemblymember Mayes currently serves on the Assembly Insurance Committee.