By Antonio Ray Harvey
SACRAMENTO — Several Black members of the state Assembly have been appointed as committee chairs for the 2024 legislative session. All are members of the California Legislative Black Caucus.
Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, who was elected five months ago, made the announcement Nov. 21.
“The Assembly is unified and ready to deliver,” Rivas said in a statement. “That’s what Californians expect from their Legislature and that’s what this team will achieve.”
In a statement to Assembly Chief Clerk Sue Parker, Rivas, who succeeds Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, as speaker, appointed these Legislative Black Caucus members to chair committees: Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Gardena, chair of the Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Tourism Committee; Assemblywoman Mia Bonta, D-Oakland, chair of the Health Committee; Assemblyman Isaac Bryan, D-Culver City, chair of the Natural Resources Committee; Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, chair of the Public Safety Committee; and Legislative Black Caucus Chair Lori Wilson, D-Suisun City, chair of the Transportation Committee.
Assemblywoman Tina Mckinnor, D-Inglewood, serves as chair of the Public Employment and Retirement Committee.
“I am thankful to @CASpeakerRivas for entrusting me with the responsibility of chairing the Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, and Tourism,” Gipson posted Nov. 22 on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “Ready to get things done, and fully committed to collaborating with all members and building on [Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva].”
McCarty expressed his commitment to work in the interest of his constituents and others around the state. “Many topics this panel covers are top of mind for all Californians,” he said. “I look forward to moving balanced and common-sense policies next year.”
Bonta thanked Rivas for putting his faith and trust in her and Assemblyman Jim Wood, who represents the Second Assembly District. Wood was appointed speaker pro tempore.
“I’m honored and humbled to serve as Assembly Health Chair,” Bonta posted on the social media platform X. “I look forward to fighting for true access to high quality, affordable healthcare for all Californians.”
In addition to the CLBC members assuming committee leadership roles, Assemblywoman Akilah Weber, D-La Mesa, has been appointed as chair of the No. 1 Budget Subcommittee on Health and Assemblyman Corey Jackson, D-Moreno Valley, is taking the helm of the No. 2 Budget Subcommittee on Human Services. Weber is currently running to replace state Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who terms out in next year.
Assemblymen Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, and Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, who are termed out at the end of 2024, have been replaced as chairs of the Appropriations and Public Safety committees, respectively. Jones-Sawyer is running for the L.A. City Council District 10 seat and Holden is running to serve on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.
McCartys’ Assembly term ends at the end of 2024, because he has chosen to run for mayor of Sacramento instead of seeking re-election for his Sixth District seat.
Several Sacramento insiders who wished to remain anonymous, expressed their surprise to California Black Media about Rivas’ decision to replace Bryan, the former Assembly majority leader, with Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Davis. In that role, Bryan was second-in-command in the Assembly.
In his new role as chair of the Natural Resources Committee, Bryan will oversee state agency activities and Assembly policy involving air quality, climate change, energy efficiency, renewable energy, the California Environmental Quality Act, coastal protection, forestry, land conservation, oil spills, solid waste and recycling. Bryan went on record to publicly accept his new role with grace.
“I’m looking forward to chairing the Natural Resources Committee next session,” Bryan said Nov. 21 on X. “Thank you Speaker Rivas for this important appointment.”
Rivas appointed 17 women to leadership positions, a new record for the Assembly.
Wilson, who was formerly majority whip, is now the first Black woman in state history to serve as chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. The Transportation Committee oversees legislation, public issues and the operations of several state agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, California Transportation Commission, Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Transportation, and California High-Speed Rail Authority.
“It is an honor to be appointed to serve as the chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee,” Wilson said in a statement. “Transportation impacts each and every Californian in a significant way. From improving California’s public transit systems, to improving our roads and highways, transportation equity, expanding clean technology use, and mitigating the environmental impacts of our transportation sector, I’m ready to dig in on these crucial public policy challenges and map out a state transportation plan that addresses California’s needs for generations to come.”
Antonio Ray Harvey is a reporter for California Black Media.