Sacramento – On Wednesday, State Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) made history in a two-fold way when she was sworn in as Senate President Pro Tem and became the first female and lesbian to hold the position. Atkins, who replaced former President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon who held the title since 2014, must now help her party successfully navigate its way through the 2018 election cycle.
Though Atkins has previously served as the Speaker of the State Assembly, she takes the helm of the senate during a period of some tensions among Democrats. Areas of intra-party sensitivity include disagreements over issues related to single-payer health care and salacious accusations of sexual misconduct by state level elected representatives that some in Sacramento believe are not being held to account by their peers.
Atkins told The Associated Press her initial focus in addition to running the senate will include the development of a process to deal with sexual harassment allegations.