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Wednesday
Dec262012

SACRAMENTO: Report, analysis, "pivotal year" for Assembly Speaker John A. Perez -- his legislative accomplishments, his political future....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Californians To Watch: John A. Perez faces pivotal year in Legislature, political career"- From the Bee:

John A. Pérez is the Assembly's traffic cop, its buck-stops-here leader who can kill bills before they reach a floor vote – a role made even more pivotal by Democrats' supermajority in 2013. The Los Angeles Democrat is entering his final term in the Assembly, his last chance to polish his legacy and a time when legislators typically eye their next political race.

Rick Jacobs, leader of the liberal Courage Campaign, said that Pérez will be judged partly by whether he sets the stage for California's future rather than targets mostly short-term gains. "That includes shaping a legislative agenda that isn't just a little bit here and a little bit there, a hodgepodge, but a coherent and cohesive progressive agenda," Jacobs said.

Pérez said that he doesn't believe in legacies and plans to "continue moving in the direction that we have been." "I hope people would remember me as a speaker who served in very difficult times and tried to bring about stability in the state at a moment that was very important, someone who focused on protecting jobs for people and expanding opportunity," he said. "But that's for them to decide, not for me to decide."

Pérez has formed an exploratory campaign committee to run for lieutenant governor in 2018, but Capitol analysts have speculated that he could run for Los Angeles city councilman, county supervisor or a state Senate seat long before then.

The Assembly leader vows to make job creation and economic recovery key priorities in 2013, while public employee unions push for his help on issues ranging from raising the minimum wage to squeezing more state revenue from corporations. "We're going to ask Democrats to stand up and do the right thing," said Willie Pelote, political and legislative director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Pelote and Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Association, each say they have confidence in and respect for Pérez – but their conflicting interests reflect the delicate balancing act facing the Assembly leader in 2013. "Do no harm," Dombrowski said of his hopes for Pérez. "Our expectations are the opposite of labor."

Now that Democrats hold two-thirds of the seats in both legislative houses, they can pass tax measures without any GOP votes. But Pérez shrugged off the impact of the supermajority.................