Democrat De Leon elected as Senate’s new leader

Democrat De Leon elected as Senate’s new leader

Democrats-controlled California's Senate on Monday selected Senator Kevin De Leon as its new leader. De Leon, a Democrat representative of part of Los Angeles, will succeed current Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who will step down on October 15 this year.

De Leon, a former teachers' union activist, is well known for raising voices for the rights of low-income workers and their children. He vowed to work with political independents as well as Republicans to enhance public education in the state.

He has pushed to tighten gun control laws, to build more parks in poor urban areas, and vehemently fought against school vouchers. After selection as new leader of the Senate, he stressed every Californian should be enabled to reap the benefits of the state's economic recovery.

But, De Leon's accession may push the Legislature back harder against Republican Governor Jerry Brown, who is in the race for governorship for the third time.

David Mark, a political analyst and editor of the website Politix, said, "Steinberg is more of a business guy, and de Leon is more of an open progressive. He's from urban Los Angeles - a different type of Democrat."

De Leon's selection as new president of the state's Senate completes the 40-member chamber's shift to a more liberal leadership that started with Toni Atkins' appointment as State Assembly speaker last month.

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