The California State Assembly’s Democratic caucus named Majority Leader Toni Atkins its choice for speaker on Wednesday, a move that will make her the body’s first out lesbian leader when legislators convene for a floor vote this spring.
Atkins, who became majority leader in 2012 and represents coastal San Diego in the Assembly, is set to take over for outgoing openly gay Speaker John A. Pérez. The transfer of power will mark the first time any state legislative chamber has had two consecutive openly LGBT speakers.
“Toni Atkins is an outstanding public servant who has earned the honor of leading her colleagues in the Assembly,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute. “In the many years I’ve known her, Toni has always been focused on the future, on what’s possible. That quality will serve the people of California well as she takes over as speaker, and it will inspire out women everywhere to believe they can achieve great things as public leaders in their own communities.”
Atkins was first elected to the Assembly in 2010. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute.
Photo by Karen Ocamb