New California Assembly Speaker Pledges to Tackle the State’s Biggest Issues

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Assemblymember Robert Rivas was sworn in Friday as the next speaker of California’s state Assembly, becoming the first lawmaker from a rural district to hold the powerful office in the state’s modern history.

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Rivas, a 43-year-old Democrat representing the agricultural Central Coast area, replaces former Speaker Anthony Rendon after a monthslong power struggle last year. Rendon, the second-longest serving speaker in state history, terms out at the end of 2024 after serving as the California lower house’s leader the last seven years.

Rivas, who had a quick rise to power, pledged to lead with “urgency and unity.” At his inaugural ceremony in the Capitol, he said his priorities are to tackle the state’s housing and homelessness crisis, improve public services and infrastructure and combat climate change. Democrats hold more than three-quarters of the Assembly’s 80 seats.

“California is still the greatest state in the union,” Rivas said Friday. “But if we in this room do not act and do not act with greater urgency, it will get more and more difficult to build a good life here. I feel, and I know that you all do, too, a great sense of responsibility because we are the ones who can keep the door open for the next generation.”

His inaugural ceremony drew a wide-ranging crowd of political bigwigs, from U.S. House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Zoe Lofgren to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Labor Federation Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher.

Republican Assembly Leader James Gallagher said he appreciates Rivas’ background and understanding of agricultural issues.

“His words today about unity and respecting everybody’s differing viewpoints give me hope that we can work together to restore the California dream,” he said.

At the ceremony Friday, Rivas honored his 90-year-old grandmother, his mother, civil rights icon Dolores Huerta and nearly two dozen farmworkers from his district, saying they were his inspiration to become a lawmaker. Rivas’ extended family, along with dozens of family friends from his hometown, Hollister, were also in attendance Friday, teeming with pride and emotion.

The second-term lawmaker was largely unknown until he successfully mounted a leadership challenge to Rendon last November. Rendon, who is still unhappy about how things unfolded, refused to step down when Rivas first made a play for the top leadership post earlier last year. The intraparty fighting dragged on for six months until Rivas and his allies forced a vote among Assembly Democrats, who chose him as the next leader.

Inspired by his grandfather, a Mexican immigrant who organized for fellow farmworkers alongside Huerta with United Farm Workers, Rivas has spent his political career championing farmworker protections. In 2019, as a freshman lawmaker, Rivas successfully led a landmark bill to streamline farmworker housing permits.

That helped propel him to be appointed to chair the Assembly Agriculture Committee, overseeing the state’s $50 billion agriculture industry. As chair, Rivas embarked on a statewide agricultural tour, an effort that committee members continue to praise.

Click here to read the full article in AP News


  1. tremors1 says

    “…and combat climate change.”
    That pretty much says it all. He’s just another Dumbo DemonRat that will screw up the state even more.

  2. Robin Itzler - Patriot Neighbors says

    Yada – Yada – Yada
    Marxist Democrats in Sacramento will never tackle the big issues facing California until millions more rich, upper-class, and middle-class residents flee with their tax dollars. Governor Gavin “Hair Gel” Newsom is busy running his quasi-presidential campaign in the hopes that Joe “Big Guy” Biden doesn’t run. Newsom doesn’t have time to focus on crime, violence, drug overdoses, or homelessness.

  3. The BIGGEST issue is getting rid of ALL the communist fascist racist satanic democrats that are ruining our cities and our once golden, golden state!!! Democrats only fix problems they cause with MORE problems………and they like throwing enormous amounts of money we don’t have, at problems that don’t exist, for solutions that don’t work!!! And “Socialism is a philosophy of Failure, the creed of Ignorance and the gospel of Envy, it’s inherent virtue is the equal sharing of Misery.” Winston Churchill.

  4. Richard Cathcart says

    In all of the USA, no state governor is more deserving a proper “Babylon Bee”-style moniker: hence, I humbly propose the following or any other similarly descriptive name: CA Gov. Gaposis Newozoom$um$

    Tax and spend governors, endless disconnected Sacramento-hugging Democrats won’t ever change this State of the better. With his agriculture homeland background, Rivas appears “grounded” but that may only be a refection of the change in political lingo to accommodate the horrible economic times acoming!!!!.

  5. the jakester says

    Gov Gruesome is just like a toddler with a pant load. All he likes is shiny objects. He wont put things away, he cant fix them, he bores of them within a short time and goes onto the next shiny object.

  6. tracker1 says

    Living in Northern California I have been in close contact with people of all cultures because of my career in education. The ultimate route to success in America is education. Some of those coming to the state have never had educational opportunity so don’t give it high value compared to specific job skills. For many years the nation has driven our youth to think college as the best option and encouraged the youth to take college prep classes (that teach no skill but do prepare those willing to put in the energy for success at some level of college, including junior college). Those students often were not successful in the rigorous academic classes. The transition from totally none English to successful college takes about 2-3 generations. Of course there are many exceptions. In those three generations the parents and their children become English speakers and use English as their primary method of communication in the world around them. The children will, with strong PARENT support, have entered classes that actually prepare the child to compete in that challenging endeavor. Some families become almost totally dependent on government aid. That drives the child away from learning the skills for success in many areas. PARENTS are a huge element in student success. Our political leaders have not focused on developing ways to keep the parents on that job. SAD.

  7. STEPHANIE says

    Another dud who will rubber stamp anything Newsom asks for .

  8. LMAO!

    RECALL NEWSOM. Period.

  9. The far left Pied Piper democRATS are scurrying in lockstep toward bringing down our meritocracy and dropping off into the ocean. Stepping out of line is not allowed.

  10. Wake me up when we can get a solid Constitution loving Republican in state office.

  11. the Jakester says

    Don Quijote attacked windmills in now what would be an attack on the climate. Does anyone realize how stupid it is for Kaliforniacate to “attack” climate change ??? Just a collection of bonerheads. Watch the 6,000 + + commercial jets a day circling the globe. Gruesome and Riva$$ think they can conquer the universe ? Neither know how to scrape dung piles off the sidewalk !!!

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