With California cycling through four Democratic governors this week as officials leave for scheduled travel, the state is expected to see its first-ever openly gay governor for a brief window on Wednesday – Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.
For roughly eight to nine hours today, Atkins will be filling in for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who is traveling to Chicago for the day. Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom and Gov. Jerry Brown are also out-of-state today with Newsom attending a Special Olympics event on the East Coast and Brown on a trade mission in Mexico.
The Washington Post reports:
[Atkins] is the first openly lesbian leader of either California chamber, succeeding the first openly gay Assembly speaker, John Pérez, a Democrat from Los Angeles. Atkins was also the first lesbian mayor of San Diego when she briefly held office in 2005 after a predecessor resigned. In 2003, she became the city’s first openly lesbian deputy mayor, too.
Atkins will be the nation's second openly gay governor, following New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey’s brief stint as an "out" governor before his resignation in 2004.
To date, no state has elected an openly gay governor.