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Biography

Anthony Rendon is Speaker Emeritus of the California State Assembly. Rendon was sworn in as Speaker on March 7, 2016 and served until June 30, 2023, making him the second-longest serving Speaker in California history.

Since 2012, Rendon has represented the communities of Southeast Los Angeles. He currently represents the 62nd District, which includes eight cities – Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, South Gate, Huntington Park, Bellflower, and Walnut Park.

After graduating high school, Rendon worked briefly in warehouses and other manual labor jobs. Those experiences drove him 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. This bond catapulted him to statewide prominence. 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. Later, in 2015, he was named 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 declined 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, and groundbreaking policies on gun and tobacco use. He also successfully invested $530 million in early childhood education.

In his seven years as Speaker, Rendon has led some of the most progressive and productive legislative sessions in memory. Among the Assembly’s accomplishments are restoration of funding for early childhood education, a landmark $52 billion in transportation funding, unprecedented investments in ending homelessness, universal pre-kindergarten, historic changes to law enforcement’s use of force rules, expanded worker protections, and restrictions on predatory lending. Under his leadership, the Assembly passed the strongest plastic pollution prevention act in United States history, along with many other major climate change bills. He also appointed the largest number of women as committee chairs and non-elected positions in Assembly history. In a long-overdue accomplishment, under his leadership, Assembly staff achieved pay parity.

In 2015, Rendon authored Assembly Bill 530. This is a law that spurred much-needed revitalization of the lower portion of the Los Angeles River by establishing the Lower Los Angeles River Working Group involving local Southeast Los Angeles cities. This legislation prompted more efforts in Southeast Los Angeles as well, including advocacy for a Southeast Los Angeles Cultural Center, led by Frank Gehry, Anthony Rendon, and Janice Hahn. These efforts would showcase artwork done in the region and expand arts access to people throughout the area. Since 2017, the Cultural Center has received around $129 million of funding from the state.

Rendon resides in Lakewood with his wife, Dr. Annie Lam, and their daughter, Vienna.