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New California Speaker Could Be Sacramento Strongman

New term limit rules may give the new speaker of the California Assembly much more power, as Los Angeles Democrat Anthony Rendon could conceivably serve until 2024.

Rendon, 48, told Bay Area public radio station KQED that his prospective longevity in his position could allow the legislature to retrieve some of its power from the governor’s office, adding, “I think that would be a good thing for democracy and I think that would be a good thing for California for us to even that out.” Rendon added: “I think what has changed all of our approaches to the job, as an institution, is the extension of term limits to 12 years, You see that on issues pertaining to infrastructure. We want to get it right. I don’t think we rush into decisions around here at all.”

Rendon wrote Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion state water bond passed in 2014. He also authored AB 530 in 2015, which would a revive the lower portion of the Los Angeles River, and AB 496, which would aid schools to improve their drinking water. He has also criticized the California High Speed Rail Authority for deciding to begin its construction in Northern California rather than Southern California.

In a purported attempt to show he can reach across the aisle, Rendon asked new Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes to second Rendon’s nomination to be speaker. Mayes told KQED, “I think we both want the same end. But I think the means to get there we have vast disagreements about. But I don’t think that there’s going to be any vitriol in our relationship, and I don’t think that’s how he’s going to lead either.”

 

Rendon protested that he does not think about his possible longevity in his job, asserting, “My focus is on the short term. My focus is on making sure that we accomplish what’s in front of us. I think, to a large extent, it’s like any other job. If you’re successful in the short term, then the long term will take care of itself.”

 

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