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Assembly Elects L.A. Democrat as New Speaker

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Assemblyman Anthony Rendon speaks on the Assembly floor after being elected speaker on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. (Jeff Walters/Assembly Democratic Caucus)

The California State Assembly has formally chosen a new leader. Los Angeles Democrat Anthony Rendon was elected Assembly speaker on Monday. He'll be sworn in come March.

Rendon takes over at a time when moderate Democrats have been flexing their muscles in the Assembly. But Rendon, a more liberal Democrat, says there’s space there for everyone.

“We’ve always been a big-tent party," he says. "We’re inclusive of a lot of folks from a lot of different geographies and a lot of different ideologies. I don’t expect that that will change at all.”

During a speech to the Assembly, Rendon said the work will start right away as lawmakers begin negotiations over the budget.

"I look forward to representing the will of this house throughout the budget process," he said.

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The "will" of the Assembly may be different, depending on which member you speak with. But today both political parties expressed a desire for unity.  Chad Mayes, the newly selected leader of the Assembly Republicans, chose to second Rendon's nomination. He said Rendon's election marks the start of a new era.

"I challenge the majority party to join me by setting an aspirational and bipartisan tone for how we should run this house," said the Yucca Valley legislator. "Members, today, let's agree to agree."

Rendon is replacing San Diego Democrat Toni Atkins, who is terming out of the Assembly.

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