Eastside Senator to Head State Senate

By City News Service

Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, was officially elected this week president pro tem of the state Senate, becoming the first Latino to hold the post since 1883.

De Leon is scheduled to succeed Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, on Oct. 15. Steinberg announced his support of de Leon months ago, and this week’s vote was widely viewed as formality.

The son of a single mother from Mexico, de León grew up in the Logan Heights barrio in San Diego.

Ultimately, it was his work as a union organizer for the California Teachers Assoc. that landed him in Los Angeles.

De León, accepting the position, said he has a tough job ahead him. He said one of main focuses will restoring the faith of the public in its leaders, particularly the senate which has been rocked by corruption scandals involving three of his Democratic colleagues, two who are facing criminal charges and one member who has already been convicted.

He called creating good paying jobs a top priority.

“As always, job one must be jobs,” de Leon said. “That means continuing to provide fiscal stability, promote innovation, invest in our physical and digital infrastructure and remove barriers to growth. It also means continuing California’s global leadership in demonstrating that economic growth and environmental protection are mutually dependent, not exclusive.

“But most of all, we must also make sure we are continuing to invest in the primary jobs engine of the innovation economy — public education,” he said.

Mayor Eric Garcetti hailed de Leon as a “champion for local communities and neighborhoods throughout California.”

“I know Senator de Leon and I will work closely together to deliver L.A.’s fair share from Sacramento, creating good jobs and improving communities along the L.A. River and beyond,” Garcetti said.

Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) said “Senator de León will fight hard for education, the environment, civil rights, and working families. He called de León a “principled leader of great integrity,” who is perfect for the job.”

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June 19, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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