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definition - John_Pérez

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John Pérez

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John A. Pérez
Taking office
March 1, 2010
GovernorArnold Schwarzenegger
SucceedingKaren Bass
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 46th district
Assumed office 
December 1, 2008
Preceded byFabian Núñez (D)
BornSeptember 28, 1969 (1969-09-28) (age 40)
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley

John A. Pérez is a union organizer and politician from Los Angeles, California. A Democrat, he represents the 46th district in the California State Assembly. He is currently the Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the Assembly and has been chosen as the next Speaker. He will take over from Karen Bass on March 1, 2010.[1]


Early life and career

Pérez grew up in El Sereno and Highland Park before attending the University of California, Berkeley. He is the cousin of Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and has spent seven years handling political matters for the United Food and Commercial Workers, a union representing supermarket workers,[2] and also has served as political director of the California Labor Federation.[3] He was a member of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency until 2008, when he resigned from the board in order to run for the Assembly.

Political life

Background in politics

Long active in the labor movement, Pérez is a member of the Democratic National Committee, which made him a superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.[4][5] He endorsed Barack Obama on June 3, 2008, the day of the final contests in the Democratic presidential nominating calendar.[6]

Election to the Assembly

The 46th district includes the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo, Westlake, Vernon and part of South Los Angeles. Pérez succeeded Fabian Núñez, the former Assembly speaker who was forced out by term limits, as the district's assemblyman. Pérez faced only a little-known primary challenger in the race to succeed him,[7] winning convincingly.[8] In the general election held on November 4, 2008, he won 85% of the vote.

Election as Speaker

Rather than seek the speakership of the Assembly, Pérez had been intending to run for the California Senate in 2010 with Kevin de León slated to be elected speaker. An agreement had apparently been reached by Los Angeles power brokers that would have seen Pérez support de León for speaker whilst Pérez would run unopposed in the 22nd senate district, the seat being vacated by term-limited Gil Cedillo. Cedillo, in turn, would seek Pérez's seat in the Assembly.[2]

The deal appears to have been derailed by opposition amongst Assembly Democrats to de León becoming speaker and by a desire to elect a speaker who could serve longer than two years - de León, unlike Pérez, will be forced out by term limits in 2012.[2] The leadership battle came to a head on December 3, 2009, when Assembly Speaker Karen Bass announced that Pérez had enough support to succeed her.[9] On December 10, the Assembly Democratic caucus met to select the next speaker. During the meeting, de León threw his support to Pérez, who was elected unopposed.[10] He was formally elected by a 48–26 vote of the full Assembly on January 7, 2010 and will replace Bass on March 1, 2010.[1]


Pérez is openly gay – he will be the first openly LGBT Speaker of the California State Assembly[10] and, after Minnesota's Allan Spear, only the second LGBT person to lead a state legislative chamber. Additionally, he was also the first gay person of color to be elected to the state legislature. Pérez's 2008 election won the endorsement of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Perez set to take Assembly reins on March 1". Los Angeles Times. 2010-01-25. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2010/01/perez-set-to-take-assembly-reins-on-march-1.html. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b c "Villaraigosa's cousin vies for Assembly seat". Los Angeles Times. 2008-02-23. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-perez23feb23,1,1342869.story. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  3. ^ http://www.sacbee.com/latest/story/2445952.html
  4. ^ "Pérez for Assembly - candidate biography". http://www.perezforassembly.com/about. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  5. ^ "Political Notes: Gay Latino labor activist set to make history". Bay Area Reporter. 2008-04-10. http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=2896. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  6. ^ "Supers:Obama gets six so far". NBC News. 2008-06-03. http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/06/03/1100876.aspx. Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  7. ^ "Filing deadline leads to candidate hokey-pokey". Capitol Weekly. 2008-03-13. http://www.capitolweekly.net/article.php?issueId=wy8n0m9ihpch06&xid=wyttwnqke6o67x&_adctlid=v%7Cjq2q43wvsl855o%7Cwyunwjpfshw2xg. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  8. ^ "Mervyn Dymally one victim in series of tough California races". Los Angeles Times. 2008-06-04. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-legcon5-2008jun05,0,406946.story. Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  9. ^ "Los Angeles lawmaker lines up votes for speaker". San Francisco Chronicle. 2009-12-02. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/12/02/politics/p155155S05.DTL&type=politics. Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  10. ^ a b "Calif. picks 1st openly gay Assembly speaker". The Associated Press. 2009-12-10. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gEEtLMJiWBur_LVNntXd_aNarn3wD9CGN6680. Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  11. ^ "Victory Fund endorsed candidates: John Pérez". http://www.victoryfund.org/endorsed_candidates/profile/candidate:151. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 

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