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California will be the 'keeper of the nation's future' in the era of Trump, state Democratic lawmakers promise

State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, from left, Gov. Jerry Brown and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)
State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, from left, Gov. Jerry Brown and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

Within a day of President Trump’s election last November, California's top Democratic lawmakers responded with a joint statement that contained an audacious promise. It was their state, not Washington, D.C., that would be the "keeper of the nation's future."

An artistic rendering of that vow, with looping calligraphy and a roaring grizzly, is now on display in the offices of Senate leader Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. In the wake of Trump's win, the words seemed to be a sort of foundational document — California's declaration of resistance.

That pugilistic posture is often conveyed in shorthand: California versus Trump. But the ensuing legislative year, which ended Friday, revealed the messy reality of squaring up against the federal government.

“It’s been challenging,” De León (D-Los Angeles) said, bleary-eyed as he took a break during the final days of the session. “You have to debate, you have to negotiate, you have to make your case, and I think at the end of the day, we’ll still have the most far-reaching policy in the nation.”

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