Termed-out Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) was planning to leave her leadership position in January, but that timetable may be accelerated.
Democrats, who dominate the Assembly, named Anthony Rendon, 47, of Los Angeles speaker-elect on Thursday, changing the political calculus in the manic last few weeks of the legislative session. Atkins was sworn in as speaker in May 2014 after defeating Rendon.
Rendon, the 70th speaker in California history, has been an educator, environmental activist and nonprofit executive director. His suburban district is 74% Latino.
He attended Cerritos College before earning his bachelor’s (in 1991) and master’s (in 1992) degrees from California State University, Fullerton. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside in 2000 and had a postdoctoral fellowship at Boston University in 2001.
After college, Rendon worked for the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, where he was chief operating officer and director of development. He left in 2005 to run his own consulting business for three years, specializing in government relations for construction and transportation projects.
Rendon was interim executive director of the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) from June 2008 to February 2009. He left to take a permanent position as executive director of Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services Inc.
Rendon served as adjunct professor of political science and criminal justice at the University of California, Fullerton, 2001-2008.
Rendon was elected Assemblyman for the 63rd District in 2012. His district includes Bell, Cudahy, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, South Gate, and the community of North Long Beach.
Rendon is part of the first group of lawmakers governed by less restrictive term limits and can remain in the Assembly for 12 years. Prior to passage of Proposition 28 in 2012, Assembly members could serve just three 2-year terms and Senators two 4-year terms. Now any lawmaker can split 12 years in whatever fashion between the two chambers.
Caucus members won’t formally vote on the speakership until January, but there will be a transition timeline, according to the Sacramento Bee. Republicans replaced both their Assembly and Senate leadership within the last couple weeks. State Senate leader Kevin de León (D- Los Angeles), whose district is inches away from Rendon’s, is termed out in 2018.