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Gay Man Poised to Lead Calif Assembly

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The California state assembly's Democratic caucus Thursday afternoon selected John A. Perez (pictured) as assembly speaker, putting him in line to become the first openly gay person to hold such a post, in California or any other U.S. state.

Perez, a freshman lawmaker from Los Angeles, said it was "an incredibly moving experience to have the unanimous support of my colleagues," the Los Angeles Times reported.

There still needs to be a formal vote by the full assembly; that has yet to be scheduled, according to the Times. A timetable for his replacement of incumbent speaker Karen Bass also has yet to be set. Bass helped garner support for Perez, whose chief opponent for the speaker's post was fellow Los Angeles assemblyman Kevin De Leon.

Perez, a cousin of Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, has served in the assembly just one year. He could potentially serve five years as speaker, one of the longest terms possible, as assembly members are term-limited at six years.

Rick Jacobs, chair of the California political group Courage Campaign, issued a statement calling Perez "a true progressive who will lead our state during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression." Jacobs continued, "We're proud that he's the first openly gay leader of a legislature in U.S. history and we're looking forward to working closely with Assemblymember Perez to help build a more progressive California."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.