The chief of the California Senate stated Monday she is going to step down from her management publish, ending an historic run as the primary girl and first brazenly homosexual particular person to guide the higher legislative chamber of the nation’s most populous state.
Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego, stated she is going to step down subsequent yr. Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat from the state’s North Coast area, will exchange Atkins because the Senate’s president professional tempore.
Atkins made the announcement at a information convention with McGuire and a lot of the Senate Democratic Caucus standing behind her. The show of unity was in stark distinction to the management battle that embroiled the state Assembly final yr, when new speaker Robert Rivas changed former speaker Anthony Rendon.
Atkins can’t search re-election due to time period limits and should go away the Senate on the finish of subsequent yr. She stated the caucus selected to announce the transition now as a result of “a long, drawn-out successor campaign would not be in the best interest of the Senate nor the people who we were elected to represent.”
“We have a lot of work to get through in the next few weeks,” Atkins stated, referring to the chaotic last days of the Legislative session when lawmakers will vote on tons of of payments. “This work does not mix well with internal caucus politics being at the top of everyone’s minds.”
The chief of the California Senate is likely one of the strongest positions in state politics, performing because the physique’s chief negotiator with the governor and the Assembly speaker on key laws and the state’s greater than $300 billion annual working finances.
Atkins is one in every of solely three folks in historical past to carry each prime spots within the Legislature. She has led the Senate since 2018. Before that, she was speaker of the state Assembly from 2014 to 2016.
McGuire was first elected to the Senate in 2014. He has been an outspoken critic of Pacific Gas & Electric, the nation’s largest utility, whose tools has sparked a lot of huge wildfires which have killed dozens of individuals and destroyed hundreds of houses.
In 2019, McGuire took on former Republican President Donald Trump by authoring a legislation that required candidates for president to reveal their tax returns as a situation of showing on the poll in California. The a part of the legislation that utilized to presidential candidates was in the end struck down by the courts. But the legislation nonetheless applies to candidates for governor.
McGuire praised Atkins as “a California trailblazer” and pledged to carry on her work, including focusing on climate issues, housing and access to abortion. But McGuire made it clear Atkins was still in charge.
“There is one leader, one leader at a time. And our leader here in the California state Senate is Toni Atkins,” he said. “The pro tem and I, we are unified in our transition. And we can make this promise to each and every one of you. The next three weeks, getting these bills off the floor and into the governor’s desk is going to be smooth, successful and focused on the success of the Golden State.”
McGuire is known throughout the state Capitol for his seemingly unending energy, often referred to by his nickname of the “Energizer Bunny,” according to veteran lobbyist Chris Micheli.
His ascension to the Senate’s top post means the Legislature will have two leaders who represent mostly rural parts of California, a rare occurrence in a state where political power has historically been concentrated in the dense urban areas of Southern California and the San Francisco Bay.
Rivas, who took over as Assembly speaker earlier this summer, represents a district in the state’s mostly agricultural Central Coast region. McGuire’s district stretches from the northern tip of the San Francisco Bay to the Oregon border.
“I think these are parts of the state that deserve a little more attention and focus,” said Jennifer Fearing, a longtime lobbyist whose firm — Fearless Advocacy — represents nonprofit organizations. “I look ahead to it, what the distinction their management could make on addressing longstanding disparities.”
McGuire’s time period in workplace shall be a brief one. He is required to depart workplace after 2026 due to time period limits.
Democrats management 32 of the 40 seats within the state Legislature, giving them complete management of what payments can cross. State Sen. Brian Jones, the Republican chief, stated McGuire has “respect for differing viewpoints.”
“He has shown a willingness to work in a bipartisan manner and we are excited to continue this cooperation,” Jones stated.