California Assembly: Who’s in and who’s out for the most powerful posts

(Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

California Assembly: Who’s in and who’s out for the most powerful posts

California Politics

Mackenzie Mays

November 21, 2023

California Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) announced new legislative leadership Tuesday, a major decision in his first year as leader of the lower house that could shape what becomes law in the nation’s most populous state. country.

One of the most significant changes is the announcement of a new majority leader: Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Davis). She replaces Assemblymember Isaac Bryan (D-Los Angeles), who was a key lieutenant of Rivas in his contentious yearslong battle to become speaker, which ended when he was sworn in this summer.

Bryan now takes over as chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, a key environmental policy panel.

New influential committee positions announced Tuesday include Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), who will chair the powerful Appropriations Committee, and Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino), who will oversee the Budget Committee. Both Wicks and Gabriel have control over the state’s purse strings in their new roles and are allies of Rivas.

to help him secure the speakership

during chaotic jockeying in the Capitol.

The leadership adjustments could mean changes in policymaking in Sacramento, with a renewed focus on affordability, safety and “strong public services,” said Rivas, who was sworn into the leadership role this summer after a contentious fight with former Speaker Anthony Rendon . (D-Lakewood) who reluctantly gave up the position after seven years at the helm.

“The Assembly is united and ready to deliver results,” Rivas said in a statement. “That’s what Californians expect from their legislature and that’s what this team will achieve.”

But not every recipient of a new leadership role backed Rivas, indicating he and state lawmakers are willing to forgive and forget after this year’s political drama.

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, a Democrat running for mayor of Sacramento, was a longtime ally of Rendon and was mentioned

Tuesday as

Chairman of the high-profile Public Safety Commission as California grapples with its response to crime and leads the nation on issues like gun regulation.

Tensions over how to respond to fentanyl and child sex trafficking divided Democrats in the Capitol earlier this year.

Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego) too


Rendon over Rivas and was named Tuesday to lead the housing commission, which now oversees policy decisions on one of the state’s most important issues.

“We’ve transitioned and we’re looking forward,” Ward said in an interview Tuesday, adding that Rivas told him he was chosen in the role because of his background in working on homelessness and homelessness issues as a member of the San Diego City Council.

Ward said his new role will focus on removing barriers to housing production and making options more affordable for potential homeowners and renters.

“There is tension between the state’s role and the local role in housing. We need stronger partnerships with local governments,” Ward said.

Freshman lawmaker Liz Ortega (D-San Leandro) will helm the Labor and Employment Committee after a remarkable year for union-backed policies.

She was elected last year after working for years as a union leader.

“I think it speaks to Speaker Rivas’ leadership to say that we respect the people who have come before us, and now is the time to build on that work and think long-term about people who are still here can remain in these positions for a considerable number of years. of years,” said Assemblymember Lori Wilson (D-Suisun), who was elected last year and named chair of the Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

Other new appointments include:

Assembly Member Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) as Speaker Pro Tem Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) as Asst. Majority Leader Assembly Member Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) as Speaker of the Judiciary Assembly Member Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) as Chairman of the Judiciary Assembly Alex Lee (D-San Jose) as Speaker of the Human Services Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) as Chair of the Privacy and Consumer Protection Assembly Diane Papan (D-San Mateo) as Chair of Water, Parks and WildlifeThis story will be updated.


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