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Assembly Speaker Pérez’s education at issue

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A California news website is reporting that some biographies of state Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), put out in the past by government agencies, wrongly said he had a degree from UC Berkeley but were allowed to stand uncorrected.

California Watch reports that before Pérez was elected to the Assembly in 2008, biographies distributed by the offices of the Los Angeles mayor and then-Gov. Gray Davis regarding their appointments of Pérez to commissions indicated that Pérez had graduated from UC Berkeley.

On Thursday, a spokesman for Pérez said the speaker has taken steps since his election to the Legislature to make sure the record correctly shows that he did not graduate. The speaker’s website says he became active in the labor movement ‘after attending the University of California at Berkeley.’

Pérez called one political newsletter, for example, to ask for a correction when it called him a graduate, spokesman John Vigna said. Pérez also asked his own staff to correct a draft biography before its release that said he received a degree, according to Vigna.

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“We have been consistent and upfront during his time in office about the fact that he didn’t graduate,’’ Vigna said.

Vigna declined further comment about biographies put out before Pérez’s election. The speaker was busy with meetings and unavailable for comment, Vigna said.

[Updated at 9:15 p.m. Late Thursday, Pérez issued a statement in which he voiced regret that his college record had not been accurately portrayed in the past.

[‘I take full responsibility for the initial mischaracterization that I graduated, and any other mischaracterizations about this that I or others may have made,’ Pérez said. ‘I take full responsibility for this mistake, and I regret it. I was surprised that these questions were raised because over the last several years as a candidate and legislator, I have worked to correct the record, but obviously I wasn’t diligent enough.’]


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