California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins became the first openly gay governor in California this week.
Atkins is one of four officials who will act as governor this week while Governor-Elect Jerry Brown is traveling for business in Mexico. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom then took over and acted as mayor for a brief time before traveling to the East Coast. Then third in line Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg became governor before also traveling out of state. As fourth in the line of succession, Assembly Speaker Atkins became acting governor for a few hours yesterday.
“I recognize that my short time as acting governor will probably prove to be uneventful (and I hope it will be uneventful!). But I’m also thinking today about how a young girl who grew up in poverty in Virginia ends up as Speaker and therefore gets the opportunity to be acting governor,” Atkins said in a written statement to The Washington Post.
According to The Washington Post, Atkins is California’s first openly gay governor and the nation’s second openly gay governor (the first was New Jersey Governor James McGreevey).
HRC works with local governments to ensure that LGBT issues receive the attention and respect they deserve. Openly LGBT elected officials are extremely important in politics, bringing support and awareness to LGBT issues and the small number of openly LGBT officials.