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Sen. Toni Atkins will become first woman to lead the California Senate on March 21

Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), right, walks hand in hand with her spouse, Jennifer LeSar, to the rostrum when she was elected as Assembly speaker in 2014. She will be the next leader of the Senate. (Associated Press)
Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), right, walks hand in hand with her spouse, Jennifer LeSar, to the rostrum when she was elected as Assembly speaker in 2014. She will be the next leader of the Senate. (Associated Press)

State Sen. Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) was unanimously elected Tuesday by her Democratic colleagues to take over as the next president pro tempore of the Senate on March 21.

Atkins replaces Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) as senate leader. He is running for the U.S. Senate.

De León described Atkins as “a person of vast experience and unimpeachable integrity,” and said he is proud that the state senate will be led for the first time by a woman and member of the LGBTQ community.

Atkins, 55, issued a statement that did not specifically mention some of the challenges she will face, including the fact that two male, Democratic senators are under investigation for allegations of sexual harassment.

“Leading this great state senate and our united and always productive caucus at this crucial moment in history is an extraordinary opportunity and a great responsibility — and I believe every senator has a vital role in building a brighter future for the Californians we represent,” Atkins said.

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