California has sworn in its first elected female lieutenant governor and its first openly gay statewide officeholder.
Eleni Kounalakis, a former ambassador to Hungary, opposed offshore oil drilling and promised to expand access to public education in two of the lieutenant governor’s many roles.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — the first woman to lead a political party in Congress — was among those at Monday’s swearing-in ceremony praising Kounalakis for breaking the glass ceiling.
Meanwhile, former state Sen. Ricardo Lara became the first openly gay statewide officeholder when he was sworn in as insurance commissioner.
The son of Mexican immigrants took his oath on a copy of an original Spanish version of the state Constitution.
— Eleni Kounalakis (@EleniForCA) January 7, 2019
— CA Dept of Insurance (@CDInews) January 8, 2019
The two “firsts” followed Gavin Newsom’s swearing in earlier in the day as California’s new governor.
California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye administered the oath of office Monday in a white tent outside the Capitol.
In his inaugural address, Newsom said California is united and a model for the nation. But, he added, the state faces challenges from the “powerful forces arrayed against us,” including politicians in Washington, the gun lobby, polluters and prescription drugmakers.
California’s top legal official, Xavier Becerra, was also sworn in to his first full term as attorney general. He is promising to protect Californians from “the overreach of the federal government.”
In a challenge to President Donald Trump, Becerra told supporters “our state builds dreams, not walls.”
Brown appointed Becerra two years ago to succeed Kamala Harris as attorney general after she won a seat in the U.S. Senate. The former congressman says he has since filed or joined more than 100 briefs and other legal actions against Trump’s administration.