Kevin de León

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Kevin de León
Kevin de Léon 2012.jpg
President pro tempore of the California Senate
Assumed office
October 15, 2014
Governor Jerry Brown
Preceded by Darrell Steinberg
Member of the California State Senate
from the 24th district
22nd district (2010–2014)
Assumed office
December 6, 2010
Preceded by Gil Cedillo
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 45th district
In office
December 4, 2006 – December 6, 2010
Preceded by Jackie Goldberg
Succeeded by Gil Cedillo
Personal details
Born Kevin Alexander Leon
(1966-12-10) December 10, 1966 (age 50)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Children Lluvia
Alma mater University of California, Santa Barbara
Pitzer College
Profession Community organizer
Website Official website

Kevin de León (born Kevin Alexander Leon on December 10, 1966) is an American politician who is currently serving in the California State Senate. A Democrat, he is the current Senate President Pro Tempore.

De León represents the 24th Senate District, which encompasses Downtown and East Los Angeles. Before the 2010 redistricting, he represented the 22nd Senate District.

De León was elected Senate President Pro Tempore on June 19, 2014, and was sworn in on October 15, 2014. A member of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, he is the first Latino to hold that position in over 130 years.[1] Prior to being elected to the State Senate in 2010, De León served in the California State Assembly, representing the 45th Assembly District.

Political career[edit]

De León served four years as a State Assembly member for the 45th district that included Hollywood, Thai Town, Little Armenia, Historic Filipinotown, Echo Park, Chinatown, El Sereno, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, Mount Washington, Montecito Heights, Highland Park, Glassell Park and East Los Angeles.

Throughout his legislative career, De León focused much of his efforts on bills affecting the environment, the working poor,immigration and public safety. He was instrumental in last year's passage of a bill providing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, and made national headlines in 2012 by proposing a first-of-its-kind, state-run retirement savings plan for low-income workers.[2] He co-chaired Proposition 39 – the California Clean Energy Jobs Act — hoping to create more than 40,000 California jobs, and generate billions of dollars to modernize California schools.

During his eight years representing Los Angeles in the Legislature, de León has pressed the concerns of immigrants, low-wage workers, and families suffering from gang violence. He has championed bills that restrict the sale of ammunition, improve energy efficiency in schools, expand urban park space, give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, and require overtime pay for domestic workers. He also fought to ensure revenue from California's landmark law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions be directed towards air, water and other environmental quality projects in low-income neighborhoods.[1]


After years as an educator teaching U.S. citizenship courses, de León became a community organizer helping plan the largest civil rights march in California history against Proposition 187. Now, on the 20th anniversary of Proposition 187's passage, his Senate Bill 396 erases this California law. Following years as an advocate for teachers and public schools with the National Education Association and California Teachers Association, Kevin de León ran for a seat in the California state legislature and won.[1]

Personal life[edit]

De León's true surname is Leon. He began to use de León while in college in an effort to "somehow connect" with his father, who he never knew. De León was born in Los Angeles to Andres Leon, a Guatemalan-Chinese cook, and Carmen Osorio. Both had families of their own when Kevin was born. De León grew up in the Logan Heights neighborhood in San Diego with his mother. [3]

De León was the first in his family to graduate from high school and attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and received his degree from Pitzer College at the Claremont Colleges with Honors. He lives in Los Angeles and has one daughter, Lluvia de Milagros who resides in Los Angeles as an aspiring actress, published author, and entrepreneur. De Leon's daughter graduated from a private liberal arts college where she studied Women's and Gender Studies while being involved in political work on issues she shares passionately with her father.

De León is a member of the Alliance for a Better California and the California Teachers Association.[4]


Gun control[edit]

De León is an advocate of gun control. He proposed an annual permit tax of up to $50 to pay for background checks for criminal records and mental illness.[5] In February 2008, as an assemblyman, de Léon introduced AB 2062 regulating sales of handgun ammunition; the bill passed the Assembly but died in the Senate.[6] In December 2012, de León introduced Bill SB 53 in the California Legislature, in which he proposed stricter gun control by requiring ammunition buyer permit requirement and face-to-face ammo sales only at licensed dealers, as with AB 2062 this also failed.[7] De Leon has also criticized NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.[8]

De León was the sponsor and author of California Assembly Bill 962[9][better source needed] (AB 962) a gun control law in California, later signed into law by Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger on October 11, 2009. AB 962 was set to take effect on February 1, 2011, but was ruled unconstitutional by Fresno Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton on January 18, 2011, in Parker v. California.[10][better source needed]

De Leon sponsored SB 808 (2014) [11] which passed both Houses of the Legislature and was vetoed by the Governor. In a January 14, 2014 press conference at the California Capitol, De Leon demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge on firearms as he held up an AR-15 and stated “This is a ghost gun. This right here has the ability with a 30-caliber clip to disperse with 30 bullets within half a second. 30 magazine clip within half a second,” [12]

On August 15, 2014, Senate Bill 53 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and put on the suspense file. This indicates that the bill is suspended from further committee action. On August 30, 2014, the bill was brought to the floor of the CA Senate and failed to garner the 41 votes needed to pass.

"Yes Means Yes"[edit]

De León was the sponsor and co-author (with State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson), requiring colleges in California, in order to receive state funds for student financial assistance, to adopt an "affirmative consent standard" and prohibits various affirmative defenses, including prohibiting specified factors that may negate an accused's mens rea, in college disciplinary proceedings involving allegations of sexual misconduct.[13] Senator de León wrote (along with Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson) that, although "In a court of law, due process is necessary to protect the accused’s liberty," prosecutors too often are unable to gather enough evidence to prosecute offenders.[14] They continue, by stating that their "Yes Means Yes" legislation deals with an administrative adjudication process to ensure that students abide by the code of conduct, and thus is "a fairer process." [14]

Familial Illegal Immigration Remarks[edit]

In testimony provided before the California Senate's Public Safety Committee, De León stated that "half of my family" is residing in the United States illegally, with falsified Social Security Cards and green cards:

"…I can tell you half of my family would be eligible for deportation under [President Donald Trump’s] executive order, because if they got a false Social Security card, if they got a false identification, if they got a false driver’s license prior to us passing AB60 (a law said to make California a 'sanctuary state'), if they got a false green card, and anyone who has family members, you know, who are undocumented knows that almost entirely everybody has secured some sort of false identification. That’s what you need to survive, to work. They are eligible for massive deportation."[15]

Janet Nguyen's Ejection from Senate Chambers[edit]

De León faced backlash after a 2017 incident in which State Senator and Vietnamese refugee Janet Nguyen was ejected from senate chambers for criticizing former State Senator and political activist Tom Hayden, several days after the senate held a memorial for him, by accusing him of "“[choosing] to work directly with the Communist North Vietnamese government to oppose the efforts of the United States forces in South Vietnam.” Nguyen was ordered removed by State Senator Ricardo Lara during her speech.[16]. De León was widely criticized after claiming responsibility for this action, including being booed at a rally for Nguyen, and accused nationally of limiting free speech. De León apologized, before being quoted as saying, "I think she enjoyed the 15 minutes of fame," De Léon later told reporters. "And she doesn't want it to disappear, obviously."[17]

Accusations Toward Trump Administration of 'White Supremacy'[edit]

In April 2017, De León faced backlash after claiming in a statement that, “It has become abundantly clear that Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions and the Trump administration are basing their law enforcement policies on principles of white supremacy — not American values.”[18]


  1. ^ a b c "Biography". 3 November 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "Setback put Kevin de León on the path to Senate leadership". Los Angeles Times. June 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ "The untold story of how Kevin Leon became Kevin de León". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "State Assembly Narrowly Approves Legislation to Require Handgun Ammunition Dealers to be Licensed". May 30, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Bill Text - SB-53 Ammunition: purchase permits.". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "State Sen. Kevin de Leon talks gun control and the NRA". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
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  13. ^ "Bill Text - SB-967 Student safety: sexual assault.". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  14. ^ a b de Leon, Kevin (October 13, 2015). "Why we made 'Yes Means Yes' California law". The Washington Post. Fred Ryan. Retrieved November 19, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Senate Leader: 'Half Of My Family' Eligible For Deportation Under Trump Order". Retrieved 2017-02-08. 
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