Toni Atkins named speaker of state Assembly

Atkins becomes 1st San Diegan named speaker

SAN DIEGO - Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said Wednesday she was "humbled, grateful, and ready to get to work" as the first San Diegan to become speaker of the Assembly.

The remarks were the first since word spread Tuesday of Atkins' selection by her colleagues in the lower chamber of the state Legislature. She is currently the majority leader.

"From the drought we are experiencing to ensuring a healthy business climate and a world-class educational system, California is facing important issues in the near future," Atkins said. "I look forward to leading the state Assembly in working with the Senate and the governor to meet our challenges and to move our great state forward."

Details on when she would succeed current Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, were still being worked out. Atkins' spokeswoman, Dale Kelly Bankhead, said it could be during the spring, but plans remained up in the air.

When she does take over, Atkins will be the first representative of a San Diego district to hold the position, according to Bankhead. She will also be the second Democratic woman and second person from the LGBT community to have the job.

Atkins was elected to the Assembly in 2010, following eight years on the San Diego City Council.

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