Kevin de León

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Kevin de León
KDL-Portrait.jpg
President pro tempore of the California State Senate
In office
October 15, 2014 – March 21, 2018
Preceded by Darrell Steinberg
Succeeded by Toni Atkins
Member of the California State Senate
from the 24th district
Assumed office
December 1, 2014
Preceded by Ed Hernandez
Member of the California State Senate
from the 22nd district
In office
December 6, 2010 – November 30, 2014
Preceded by Gil Cedillo
Succeeded by Ed Hernandez
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 51)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Education University of California, Santa Barbara
Pitzer College (BA)
Website Official website

Kevin Alexander Leon[1] (born December 10, 1966), known professionally as Kevin de León, is an American politician who is a candidate in the United States Senate election in California, 2018. De León currently serves in the California State Senate. A Democrat, he served as the State Senate President pro tempore from October 15, 2014, to March 21, 2018.

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 the former position in over 130 years.[2] Prior to being elected to the State Senate in 2010, de León served in the California State Assembly, representing the 45th Assembly District.

Early life[edit]

Kevin Leon was born in Los Angeles, to Carmen Osorio and Andrés Leon.[3] Both his parents were born in Guatemala with his father being of full or partial Chinese descent.[3] His mother moved from Guatemala to Tijuana, Mexico in the 1960s; she later moved to Los Angeles, a single mother with two children, to work as a housekeeper where she met De León's father.[3] His father was largely absent and his mother married to a man of Mexican descent, taking the name Carmen Osorio Núñez, and relocated to San Diego.[3] His mother divorced and De León was raised in the Logan Heights neighborhood in San Diego by his mother.[4] He also spent part of his youth in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico where his stepfather's family was located.[4] He strongly identifies with Mexican culture.[3]

The first in his family to graduate from high school, he briefly attended the University of California, Santa Barbara before dropping out. He later earned a bachelor's degree from Pitzer College in 2003.[5]

While attending UC Santa Barbara, he began going by Kevin de León though he has never legally changed his name.[6]

Early career[edit]

After dropping out of college, de León worked for One Stop Immigration Center, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that assists undocumented immigrants. [7]

He later became a labor organizer for the California Teachers Association, and served as the campaign manager for Fabian Nuñez's campaign for California State Assembly in 2002.[8] De León and Nuñez have been close political allies for most of their careers.[9]

State Assembly[edit]

De León first ran for office in 2006 defeating Christine Chavez, the granddaughter of labor leader Cesar E. Chavez, to replace the outgoing Jackie Goldberg as the California State Assemblymember for the 45th district, covering Hollywood and much of Northeast Los Angeles.[10]

As an Assembly member in 2008, De León authored the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Act of 2008, which invested $400 million in 127 parks in park-poor neighborhoods across the state.[11][12]

He also authored AB 962, a measure requiring thumbprints from ammunition purchasers,[13] later signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009. The bill was struck down as too vague by Fresno Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton on January 18, 2011, in Parker v. California.[14][15]

In 2008, eyewitnesses on the floor of the State Assembly observed de León casting a so-called "ghost vote" for Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi on an affordable housing bill, opposite the way she would have voted, when Hayahi was away from the Assembly floor. De León said he had no memory of the incident but also said he did not deny it, either.[16] De León was investigated by then-Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, but did not face any punishment and the vote was later changed. As a result of the controversy, Bass changed Assembly rules to enforce a ban on ghost voting.[17]

In 2009, he was defeated in a bid to become Speaker of the California State Assembly, after too many Assembly members found de León's ambitious nature grating, eroding his support, according to reports in the Los Angeles Times.[18]

State Senate[edit]

De León was elected to the California State Senate in 2010 and became President pro Tempore of the State Senate in 2014.[19] As a Senator, de León has been generally regarded as a liberal and describes himself as a "proud progressive."[20]

Energy and the environment[edit]

De León in 2014

Renewable energy[edit]

SB 350, authored by de León and signed into law in 2015, mandates that utilities in California purchase 33% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 50% from renewable sources by 2030.[21] According to the California Energy Commission, California is already on track to meet these goals, with 27% of energy in 2016 purchased from renewable sources.[22]

In 2012, he co-chaired the successful Proposition 39 campaign which closed a corporate-tax loophole and provided $2.5 billion in revenue for energy-efficiency upgrades in schools.[23]

De León also sponsored SB 100, which would have required the state of California to generate 50% renewable electricity by 2026 and 100% renewable electricity by 2045. The bill failed to pass in 2017 due largely to opposition from some organized labor and energy companies. [24][25] In 2018, the bill passed both houses of the California State Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 10. [26]

Clean Air[edit]

In 2012, de León's SB 535 was signed into law, requiring the California Air Resources Board to spend at least 25 percent of cap-and-trade revenue to benefit low-income communities across California that are disproportionately impacted by pollution.[27] In 2014, de León’s Charge Ahead California Act created a rebate initiative to make electric cars more accessible to working families and to put at least 1 million electric cars on California roads by 2023.[28][29]

In 2017, de León introduced the California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2017, which mandates that California enforce air, water, endangered species, and worker protection standards no less stringent than those that existed at a federal level on January 1, 2017.[30]

Cadiz Water Project[edit]

In late 2017, a bill that would have blocked the controversial Cadiz Water Project, a proposal to mine and transfer groundwater from protected desert habitat in Eastern San Bernardino County to parts of Orange County, was killed by the State Senate appropriations committee.[31] Opponents of the project blamed de León, then President pro Tempore of the Senate, and pointed out that the company behind the project had donated $5,000 to de León's political campaign. Fabian Nuñez, a close ally and donor to de León, also represented company as its lobbyist.[32]

Gun control[edit]

De León is an advocate of gun control.

In 2014, de León sponsored SB 808[33] which passed both Houses of the Legislature and was vetoed by the Governor. De León was criticized for a press conference in support of the bill in which he made several mistakes with gun vocabulary in addition to making false claims about the rate of fire of a rifle he was discussing. During a press conference, he referred to an AR-15 style rifle as having a ".30 caliber magazine clip" and claimed it had the ability to "disperse 30 bullets in half a second" despite neither being true as the AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle he was holding was not .30 caliber, could not accept clips, and the rate of fire for a semiautomatic AR-15 style rifle is less than 25% of what he claimed it was.[34]

In 2016, de León led the charge in the passage of a package of eleven bills intended to prevent gun violence. These included de León's SB 1235, which created a new framework for purchasing and selling ammunition designed to address the ambiguities of his earlier SB 53, and his SB 1407, requiring a serial number from the Department of Justice before building or assembling a gun.[35][36]

De León has also criticized NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.[37]

Affirmative consent[edit]

De León co-authored, with State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, SB 967, which required colleges in California to adopt an "affirmative consent standard" and prohibits various affirmative defenses, including prohibiting specified factors that may negate an accused's mens rea (for example testing the question of intention in a crime), in college disciplinary proceedings involving allegations of sexual misconduct.[38]

Health-care[edit]

De León is a supporter of creating a single-payer health care system. He has promised to support Senator Bernie Sanders's "Medicare for All" legislation if elected to the United States Senate.[39] He supported SB 562, a proposed bill to create a single payer health care system in California, which stalled in 2017.[40]

Nepotism accusations[edit]

In 2016, de León was accused of nepotism and influence peddling when his daughter, Lluvia Carrasco, was hired by an Encino-based political firm Shallman Communications, which counts de León and a number of other prominent California Democrats as clients.[41]

In 2015, de León's daughter also secured a job with the Greenlining Institute, an organization whose bill de León was shepherding through the State Legislature. De León later admitted that he called the organization on her behalf but denied any wrongdoing.[42]

Sexual Harassment Whistleblower Legislation[edit]

Between 2014 and 2017 the California State Legislature did not pass several proposed bills that would have created whistle-blower protections for state legislative employees who reported "unethical, immoral, or inappropriate behavior." De León did not support these bills.[43] In November 2017, more than 300 women in and around the state Capitol signed a published letter, exposing misconduct in California politics as part of the Me Too movement.[44]

Though de León soon reversed his position and dropped his opposition to proposed whistleblower legislation, he received criticism from activists who questioned his motives in not supporting previous bills.[45] At the time, de León shared a residence with State Senator Tony Mendoza, who was accused of sexually harassing three women who previously worked in his office. Attorneys representing Senator Mendoza's accusers also argued that they had reported harassment to State Senate officials several times in September 2017 before detailing their allegations in a meeting on Sept. 22 — when they were promptly fired by being handed a letter on Rules Committee letterhead.[46]

In February 2018 de León called for a vote of the legislature to expel Mendoza. Mendoza resigned before a vote could be called, claiming de León's position was politically motivated.[47]

In September 2018, Assemblymember Melissa Melendez, author of the state whistleblower legislation, criticized de León on Twitter for his attacks on Feinstein's handling of the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination.[48]

2018 United States Senate election[edit]

On October 15, 2017, de León announced his bid to challenge incumbent United States Senator Dianne Feinstein in the 2018 election.[49] The following day a Super PAC created by California political strategists Dave Jacobson and Maclen Zilber was formed to support his candidacy.[50] On June 5, de León came in second place in the "jungle primary" with 12% of the total vote, enough to advance to the November general election. Feinstein received 44% while Republican candidates collectively received just over 33%.[51] [52]

De Leon's 12% was the lowest ever recorded for a candidate who advanced to the general election since California instituted its jungle primary rules in 2016. In July, de León won the endorsement of California Democratic Party at their executive board meeting in Oakland.[53] Despite the endorsement, De Leon's campaign has been marked by fundraising struggles and low name recognition. [54] [55]

Personal life[edit]

De León has said that he did not know his father, Andres, but remembers meeting him as a boy. He currently lives in Los Angeles and has a grown daughter, Lluvia Carrasco. Carrasco's mother is San Jose Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco.[56] De León has never been married.[57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cadelago, Christopher (February 21, 2017). "The untold story of how Kevin Leon became Kevin de León". Sacbee. Retrieved October 26, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Biography". November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e California Latino Legislative Caucus – How Kevin Leon became Kevin de Leon
  4. ^ a b Cadelago, Christopher (21 February 2017). "The untold story of how Kevin Leon became Kevin de León". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  5. ^ Aron, Hillel (2017-05-03). "Kevin de Leon Went From College Dropout to California's Senate President". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  6. ^ Cadelago, Christopher (2017-02-21). "The untold story of how Kevin Leon became Kevin de León". The Sacramento Bee. ISSN 0890-5738. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  7. ^ Aron, Hillel (2017-05-03). "Kevin Leon Went From College Dropout to California's Senate President". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  8. ^ McGreevy, Patrick McGreevy, By Patrick. "Setback put Kevin León on the path to Senate leadership". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  9. ^ McGreevy, Patrick McGreevy, By Patrick. "Setback put Kevin de León on the path to Senate leadership". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  10. ^ McGreevy, Patrick McGreevy, By Patrick. "Setback put Kevin de León on the path to Senate leadership". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  11. ^ Christensen, Jon. "UCLA faculty voice: A smarter way to pay for parks". UCLA Newsroom. UCLA. Retrieved May 5, 2017. 
  12. ^ "127 Park Projects" (PDF). Senate District 24. Retrieved May 5, 2017. 
  13. ^ De León, Kevin. "AB-962 Ammunition". California Legislative Information. California State Senate. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Parker vs. California: Decision" (PDF). Michel and Associates, P.C. 
  15. ^ "Parker vs. California: Ammo Bill Defeated in Court". Gun Owners of California. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Ghost voting: A long history". SFGate. 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2018-08-08. 
  17. ^ "Assembly leader puts limits on ghost voting". SFGate. 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2018-08-08. 
  18. ^ McGreevy, Patrick McGreevy, By Patrick. "Setback put Kevin León on the path to Senate leadership". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  19. ^ McGreevy, Seema Mehta, Patrick. "Kevin de León becomes state Senate leader in $50,000 event". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  20. ^ "Kevin de León to take California's 'progressive' ideas to D.C. if elected to U.S. Senate – Inland Empire Community News". Inland Empire Community News. 2018-01-08. Retrieved 2018-05-10. 
  21. ^ "Clean Energy & Pollution Reduction Act (SB 350) Overview". California Energy Commission. Retrieved May 5, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Tracking Renewable Energy Progress – Dec 2016" (PDF). California Energy Commission. Retrieved May 5, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Joint Statement from Senate President pro Tempore Kevin León and Proposition 39 Co-Chair Tom Steyer". Senate District 24. 
  24. ^ Megerian, Chris (May 2, 2017). "California Senate leader unveils new proposal to phase out use of fossil fuels to generate electricity". LA Times. Retrieved May 5, 2017. 
  25. ^ De Leon, Kevin. "SB-100 Energy policies and programs". California Legislative Information. California State Senate. Retrieved May 5, 2017. 
  26. ^ Dillon, Liam (September 10, 2018). "California to rely on 100% clean electricity by 2045 under bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown". LA Times. Retrieved September 10, 2018. 
  27. ^ "California Climate Investments to Benefit Disadvantaged Communities". California Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved May 5, 2017. 
  28. ^ Ayre, James. "SB 1275 Passes — Californian Senate Moves To Accelerate EV Adoption". Clean Technica. Retrieved May 5, 2017. 
  29. ^ Leon, Kevin. "SB-1275 Vehicle retirement and replacement: Charge Ahead California Initiative". California Legislative Information. California State Senate. Retrieved May 5, 2017. 
  30. ^ De Leon, Kevin. "SB-49 California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2017". California Legislative Information. California State Senate. Retrieved May 5, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Bill targeting Cadiz water transfer dies in Senate committee". San Bernardino Sun. 2017-09-02. Retrieved 2018-05-18. 
  32. ^ Foy, Jennifer. "De Leon carrying water for Cadiz and Trump, unfit to be U.S. Senator". VVdailypress.com. Retrieved 2018-05-18. 
  33. ^ "Bill Text – SB-808 Firearms: identifying information". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Anti-Gun Senator Is Being Mocked Relentlessly After He Warned of '30 Magazine Clips' in Embarrassing Video". theblaze.com. January 21, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  35. ^ Cadelago, Chris (June 20, 2016). "California lawmakers send sweeping gun package to Jerry Brown". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  36. ^ "Senate Passes Sweeping Set of Bills to Prevent Gun Violence". Senate District 24. 
  37. ^ "State Sen. Kevin de Leon talks gun control and the NRA". Retrieved November 15, 2016. 
  38. ^ "Bill Text – SB-967 Student safety: sexual assault". Retrieved November 15, 2016. 
  39. ^ Hagen, Lisa. "Left faces off with Dem establishment in primary fights". The Hill. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 
  40. ^ Mason, Melanie. "California won't be passing a single-payer healthcare system any time soon — the plan is dead for this year". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-05-10. 
  41. ^ Panzar, Javier. "State Senate leader's daughter lands job with his campaign consulting firm". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-05-18. 
  42. ^ McGreevy, Patrick. "Kevin León called about job for daughter at nonprofit he helped with bill". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-05-18. 
  43. ^ "State Senate passes long-stalled whistle-blower protection for Capitol workers". SFChronicle.com. 2018-02-02. Retrieved 2018-08-23. 
  44. ^ "Push For Whistleblower Laws At California Capitol Has New Life". 2017-11-14. Retrieved 2018-08-23. 
  45. ^ "De León pressured as sexual misconduct scandal creeps into U.S. Senate race". SFChronicle.com. 2017-12-04. Retrieved 2018-08-23. 
  46. ^ "Sexual harassment controversy threatens to ensnare Kevin de León". The Mercury News. 2017-11-11. Retrieved 2018-08-23. 
  47. ^ "LA-area State Sen. Tony Mendoza resigns before facing expulsion vote". Daily Breeze. 2018-02-22. Retrieved 2018-08-23. 
  48. ^ "Melissa Melendez on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-09-19. 
  49. ^ CNN. "Kevin León announces he'll run against Feinstein for California Senate". Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  50. ^ Wire, Sarah D. "Super PAC forms to back Kevin De León over Sen. Dianne Feinstein in Senate race". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-09-12. 
  51. ^ Wire, Sarah D. "Sen. Dianne Feinstein will face Kevin de León in November election". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-09-12. 
  52. ^ "United States Senate election in California (June 5, 2018 top-two primary) - Ballotpedia". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2018-09-14. 
  53. ^ "California Democratic Party abandons incumbent Feinstein, endorses opponent". NBC News. Retrieved 2018-09-14. 
  54. ^ "De León struggles against Feinstein in Senate fundraising race". mcclatchydc. Retrieved 2018-09-12. 
  55. ^ Finnegan, Michael. "De León captures California's anti-Trump furor, but struggles to gain traction in run to oust Feinstein". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-09-12. 
  56. ^ "The Former College Dropout Who Would Be Dianne Feinstein". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 2018-08-22. 
  57. ^ Panzar, Javier. "State Senate leader's daughter lands job with his campaign consulting firm". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 

External links[edit]

California Assembly
Preceded by
Jackie Goldberg
Member of the California Assembly from the 45th district
2006–2010
Succeeded by
Gil Cedillo
California Senate
Preceded by
Gil Cedillo
Member of the California Senate from the 22nd district
2010–2014
Succeeded by
Ed Hernandez
Preceded by
Ed Hernandez
Member of the California Senate from the 24th district
2014–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Darrell Steinberg
President pro tempore of the California State Senate
2014–2018
Succeeded by
Toni Atkins