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New Assembly Speaker Sworn In Close to Home

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Friday, March 12, 2010, at 05:41PM
IMGP7413 Ed Fuentes

New Speaker of the California Assembly John A. Pérez at the podium during his swearing-in at the Japanese American National Museum.

Steps from where his political aspirations began, John A. Pérez was publicly sworn in as the new speaker of the California Assembly today.

The Boyle Heights raised Pérez –– now a Downtown resident –- first began political career fundraising across the street at Senor Fish. Today his ceremonial oath of office was held, across the street, on the steps of the Japanese-American National Museum.

Mayor of Maywood Ana Rosa Rizo thanked the Speaker for the way he responded to the community in pushing legislation to clean up the city's tap water. Even though it requires legislation, his effort to clean up tap water, as told by Mayor of Maywood Ana Rosa Rizo, was introduced as a grassroots effort. A member of the audience even brought a jar of water for Pérez to take back to Sacramento.

And that defined the mood of the formal ceremony that began with a welcome message from a former speaker of the house, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Bill Wantanabe, director of Little Tokyo Center, playfully referred to Boyle Heights as a suburb of Little Tokyo, before noting Pérez' commitment to his communities.

After being sworn-in by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar, Pérez addressed the crowd about the need to suppport education at all levels, create jobs and cut the Assembly’s budget by 15 percent.

Pérez is the 68th Speaker of the California State Assembly, and becomes the highest ranking openly-gay official in the state. He was formally sworn-in just over a week ago in Sacramento.

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