Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins Recounts Her Very Big Year

State Senate President Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, is shown speaking at the Wes...

Photo by Nancee Lewis

Above: State Senate President Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, is shown speaking at the Westin Hotel in downtown San Diego, June 7, 2016.

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins Recounts Her Very Big Year


Toni Atkins, Senate President Pro Tem


There seems to be no stopping Toni Atkins.

Born in Virginia, Atkins moved to San Diego in 1985 and was elected to her first term on the San Diego City Council in 2000 at the age of 38.

She began her life in the California Legislature as a Democratic member of the Assembly in 2010. Four years later she became the first San Diegan and the first acknowledged lesbian to be named speaker of the Assembly.

In 2018 she became the only woman ever to be named president pro tempore of the California Senate, which made her just the third person to have held both that position and the Assembly speakership.

Anyone wondering why Atkins is trusted with so much responsibility might take a look at the 2018 legislative year.

Among the initiatives she and the current speaker, Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), shepherded through the legislature were a budget which includes more than $1 billion for housing construction; justice reforms eliminating money bail, the option to try 14-year-olds as adults, and the felony murder charge; and a commitment to 100 percent clean energy statewide by 2045.

While the Legislature gets ready for 2019, Atkins is working to promote passage of state Proposition 1 in November, authorizing $4 billion in bonds for veterans' housing.

Senator Atkins discusses the 2018 legislative year and the challenges ahead on Friday's Midday Edition.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Midday Edition banner

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.