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Toni Atkins Prepares To Lead California Senate

In this Sept. 15, 2017 file photo, State Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, secon...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: In this Sept. 15, 2017 file photo, State Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, second from right flanked by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, second from left, on Sept. 15, 2017.

Toni Atkins Prepares To Lead California Senate


Toni Atkins, incoming California Senate president pro tem


State Senator Toni Atkins ,D-San Diego, is about to make California history next month, when she becomes state Senate leader. She is the first woman to attain that leadership position and the first person in modern state history to have led both houses of the legislature.

But despite Atkin’s fast ascent through the Senate ranks, some of her key legislation is now stalled or threatened. There is a major effort to repeal the gas tax she championed and her single-payer health care proposal for California is not expected to come up again this legislative session.

The single-payer bill passed the Senate last year, but Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon blocked the measure from a vote. Rendon received death threats over his position and Atkins said she does not plan on renewing her push this year.

"He took the hard position that this is not ready to move forward," Atkins said. "It’s going to be difficult to heal some of the relationships, but the one with Speaker Rendon, I’m not concerned about."

Atkins will be the second Senate leader from San Diego and was the first Assembly speaker from the county in 2014.

"I want us to be part of the discussion," Atkins said. "I want the state of California again to realize, and I get to carry this message, San Diego adds a lot to the California economy."

Atkins joins KPBS Midday Edition on Monday to discuss her legislative priorities.


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