Gay Assemblyman to Be Next Speaker: Report

John Perez could be state's next political leader

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    California Assemblyman John Perez is the last remaining candidate to become the Assembly's speaker, the Sacramento Bee reports, paving the way for a breakthrough for gay and lesbian politicians.

    Perez would be one of the most powerful gay politicians in the nation.

    It's a surprising rise for the first-term assemblyman, but with fellow Assemblyman Kevin de Leon apparently aggreeing to drop out of the race, Perez appears to be a shoe-in.

    And sure enough, Assembly's Democratic caucus elected Perez as their new speaker Thursday afternoon.

    A floor vote of the entire Assembly, set for January, is needed before he'll get the title, but that formality does not appear to be a barrier to Perez taking the job.

    Perez is the cousin of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.