First woman, LGBT lawmaker to lead California Senate

Sen. Toni Atkins became the first woman and first LGBT person to lead the California Senate on Wednesday, pledging to work toward changing the Capitol culture amid a reckoning over sexual misconduct.

A rainbow flag representing gay pride hung next to the California and U.S. flags in the Capitol rotunda as the San Diego Democrat was formally elected Senate pro tempore and took the oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.

“It’s the first time. And it’s about time,” said Atkins, who is a lesbian. But, she said, “I came to the Senate to make progress, not history.”

Atkins takes over as the Legislature faces ongoing scrutiny over its handling of sexual misconduct, upcoming budget negotiations and the 2018 elections.



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