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California Close To New Lt. Governor

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, April 22, 2010
“Members, will the Assembly advise and consent to the appointment of Abel Maldonado as Lieutenant Governor.”
This wasn’t the first time the Assembly took up Governor Schwarzenegger’s nomination of Abel Maldonado. The GOP Senator was four votes shy of confirmation in the lower house in February. That time, the atmosphere was tense.  Maldonado paced anxiously and avoided reporters. This time, after getting nearly two-thirds of the Assembly’s support, he wore a big grin:
“I think I’m fit to serve and I think I’m qualified to serve as Lt. Governor and today we have a situation where the Assembly came together and I know that this place, this institution that I love so much, can work, and today I think they’ve demonstrated that we can come together.”
Democratic Assembly Speaker John Perez backed Maldonado, and the Republican says that made the difference. But not everyone was on board. An ongoing issue is Maldonado’s vote for the budget last year. He agreed to approve tax increases if lawmakers put an open primary measure on the ballot.   GOP Assemblyman Chuck DeVore was sharply critical:
 “He exchanged his vote for a tax increase for thirty pieces of silver. That is why he is being nominated today.”
But Democratic Assemblyman Ted Leiu used the budget vote as a reason to support Maldonado:
“He is fit for office and in fact he has done the one thing that is so hard for people to do and that is cross party lines.”
The Lieutenant Governor serves as a U-C Regent, as a C-S-U Trustee and on the state Lands Commission. In that job, he could have a deciding vote on a controversial oil drilling project off the coast of Santa Barbara County. Maldonado is the son of Mexican immigrants. He hopes his success will serve as an example:
“I’m an American first, but obviously I’m proud to be the son of immigrant field workers and I think that’s an honor and I hope that every young Latino out there today can look at me and say, we can do it in California if we work hard.”
Maldonado is expected to be confirmed by the Senate early next week. If that happens, he’ll have the advantage of running for Lieutenant Governor as an incumbent this year. SOC
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