The Blog at CTA

CTA Congratulates New Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins

Educators are eager to work with her on behalf of California’s students and schools

When new Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins was sworn in earlier today, CTA President Dean E. Vogel, an elementary educator and counselor, was among those guests invited to witness the ceremony.

On behalf of California Teachers Association’s 325,000 members, he issued the following statement of congratulations to Atkins – who is one of only three women ever to lead the Assembly:

“We have worked closely with Speaker Toni Atkins since her election to the legislature, and we’re looking forward to continuing our joint efforts on behalf of California’s more than six million students and 325,000 educators. Speaker Atkins has been a fearless advocate for public education and for the rights of students and working women and men. With her leadership, California will continue to make great strides in providing each and every student a world-class education."

In her remarks at the swearing-in ceremony, the new speaker called for greater investment in education. The Speaker’s office is a powerful post in the state legislature, setting the direction for the house and making decisions that affect the fate of bills pending in the Assembly. 

The Speaker is also instrumental in assigning legislators to committees, including key panels such as:

  • Education, which deals with legislation affecting schools, students, and educators;
  • Public Employment, Retirement, and Social Security, which reviews legislation affecting working women and men and CalSTRS and CalPERS;
  • And Appropriations, which deliberates on all measures that have significant cost attached.

  The new Speaker, one of only three women to hold the post and the first from San Diego, was born in Virginia. Her bachelor’s degree in political science is from Emory & Henry College, and she completed the senior executive program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She began her public service in San Diego as director of clinic services at Womancare Health Center. Later, she joined the staff of then-City Councilmember Christine Kehoe. When Ms. Kehoe was elected to the legislature, Speaker Atkins won election to the Council seat.

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