Today John Perez made history by being elected as the first openly gay Speaker of the California State Assembly. It speaks both to Perez’s political acumen and to the diversity within the modern Democratic Party.
The Capitol Weekly, which serves the people who work in around the capitol in Sacramento, noted the irony that the first openly gay speaker was Latino: “Perez is gay in a community that has traditionally embraced traditional values.”
“The selection of an openly gay Assembly speaker is significant to the state, Perez said, but he cautioned against exaggerating it,” reported the Sacramento Bee. “It’s part of who I am – it’s not the extent of who I am,” he said.
The 40-year-old Perez was born in Los Angeles. He’s a cousin of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. His backgound with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) has prepared to negotiate, a badly needed political skill in the contentious state government.