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California Senator León Elected Next President Pro Tem

Democratic State Senator Kevin de León speaks form a podium.
Capital Public Radio
Democratic State Senator Kevin de León speaks form a podium.

Democratic State Senator Kevin de León was elected Monday and became California’s first Hispanic Senate President pro tem since the 19th century.

De León says his own beginnings growing up the son of an immigrant single mother in Southern California informs his understanding of the plight of disadvantaged Californians. He says expanding the economy will be a top priority as Senate leader.

“Creating jobs and bringing general revenue into our fund here in California so we can fund the programs that are important to each and every one of us, regardless of our political positions,” says de León.

Before election to the Legislature in 2006, de León worked as a union and community organizer. Since coming to office, he’s been a staunch gun control advocate.

Political Science Professor Steve Woolpert of St. Mary’s College says de León will have a powerful position.

“The influence is enormous because of the power to appoint people to committees, the power to set legislative agendas," says Woolpert.

Current pro tem Darrell Steinberg will remain in the position until he is termed out of office in November.

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