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John Perez, First Openly Gay Leader Of California Legislature, Gets Sworn In

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The first openly gay lawmaker to lead either house of the California Legislature has been sworn in as speaker of the state Assembly.

John Perez, a Los Angeles Democrat, took the reins of the 80-member house on Monday, as the state tries to close a $20 billion budget deficit and unemployment remains above 12 percent.

The 40-year-old Perez says creating jobs and encouraging Democrats and Republicans to work together will be his top priorities. Democrats have majorities in the Assembly and Senate.

The speaker's position is being vacated by Assemblywoman Karen Bass, another Los Angeles Democrat, who is running for Congress and will be termed out at the end of the year.

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