Biography

 

Anthony Rendon is speaker of the California State Assembly, a position he has held since March 2016.

Since 2012, Rendon has represented the 63rd Assembly District, which includes nine cities – Bell, Cudahy, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, South Gate and a northern portion of Long Beach.

The son of working class parents and grandson of Mexican immigrants, Rendon was far from a high achieving student, once carrying a grade point average of 0.83 and nearly flunking out of high school.

After graduating high school, Rendon worked for a period of time in warehouses and other manual labor jobs. Those experiences drove him back to pursue higher education. Rendon attended Cerritos Community College before earning his Bachelors and Masters of Arts degrees from California State University, Fullerton. As a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside and completed post-doctoral work at Boston University.

Prior to serving in the Assembly, Rendon was an educator, non-profit executive director, and environmental activist. He led Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services, Inc. as executive director. Plaza provides comprehensive child development and social and medical services to over 2,300 children and families offered through Plaza’s 35 child development centers located throughout Los Angeles County. Before working at Plaza, Rendon served as the interim executive director of the California League of Conservation Voters from 2008 to 2009.

Rendon was first motivated to run for public office by his experience in early childhood education. Massive budget cuts made by the Schwarzenegger Administration spurred him to lobby for restored funding. When he was unsuccessful, he became determined to fight for kids more directly in the legislature.

In his first term in the Assembly, Rendon authored Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion state water bond which voters passed by a 67% to 33% margin in the November 2014 election. During the bond development process, Rendon took input from residents over the course of 18 public hearings throughout the state, resulting in a measure with no earmarks or backroom deals.

In 2015, Rendon authored Assembly Bill 530, a law that spurs much-needed revitalization of the lower portion of the Los Angeles River. As chair of the Utilities and Commerce Committee, he led ongoing efforts to ensure accountability at the California Public Utilities Commission.

Rendon became the 70th speaker of the Assembly on March 7, 2016, ushering in a new era of a decentralized speakership and member empowerment.

“I want to help each of you achieve the best and the most for the people you represent,” Rendon told his colleagues in his inaugural address. “We won’t always agree on issues or approaches, but I believe everyone here deserves an environment where they can advocate forcefully for their ideas and their constituents.”

While continuing to advocate for the needs of his constituents, as speaker, Rendon has forgone authoring legislation in favor of pushing for broad policy goals to help all Californians and in devoting time to the success of his colleagues in the Assembly.

In Rendon’s first year as speaker, the Assembly passed landmark progressive legislation, including the nation’s first statewide $15 minimum wage, extension of California’s climate change reduction goals, overtime pay for farmworkers, and groundbreaking policies on gun and tobacco use. The first state budget passed during Rendon’s tenure continued California’s recent history of on-time, balanced budgets, doubling the state rainy day fund, and investing $530 million in early childhood education, a key victory for Rendon and the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

In 2017-18 legislative session, Rendon led the most progressive and productive legislative session in memory – a session when the Assembly passed a landmark $52 billion transportation funding plan, extension of California’s cap-and-trade program, first-of-its-kind clean air measure, and efforts to address the affordable housing crisis. The Assembly approved legislation to end the cash bail system that for decades disproportionally impacted poor Californians and people of color. State budgets continued to build on fiscal reserves, expand the earned income tax credit and child care eligibility, make record investments in education, and implement governance reforms to the Board of Equalization and University of California.

Rendon resides in Lakewood with his wife Annie.