The next president pro tem of the California state Senate will be Democratic state Sen. Kevin de León of Los Angeles, who was elected Monday. De León, 47, a Democrat, asserted that one of his highest priorities will be to restore public trust in the corruption-plagued state legislature, the Los Angeles Times reports.
De León will replace Sen. Darrell Steinberg on Oct. 15, but he has already taking charge of the states’ Democratic Senate campaigns in hopes of restoring the party’s supermajority.
Steinberg, in nominating de León, said that the election of de León, the first Latino to be president pro tem since 1883 and the first los Angeles resident in two decades, was a “watershed moment,” adding, “Kevin is smart. He is seasoned. He is hungry to get big things done. He is unafraid to lead.”
De León tried to gloss over the ethics problems of the state’s Democratic party, saying, “I think what happened was an amazing anomaly when you have three individuals (charged) in a short window of time, but we have moved forward with new Senate rules, with a blackout period, with an important objective ombudsman.” He resorted to partisan politics, agreeing with Steinberg that despite GOP calls for expelling the senators facing criminal charges, he would not pursue such an action.
Three Democratic senators are currently facing, or have recently faced, criminal charges.
Sen. Roderick Wright was found guilty of eight felonies including perjury and voter fraud; Sens. Ronald S. Calderon and Leland Yee have been indicted by federal authorities for actions in which they offered official actions in return for money.
De León, along with a group of other Democratic senators, has resisted installing tougher ethics rules.