Smyth one of two minority party legislators who received chairmanship jobs.
In a bold move in Sacramento, Democratic Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez has granted the chairmanship of the Local Government Committee to Republican Cameron Smyth.
Smyth, a former Santa Clarita City Council member and four-year veteran of the Assembly says that he’s up to the challenge.
“I appreciate the opportunity that Speaker Pérez has given me,” said Smyth. “I’m looking forward to tackling the challenges we have in front of us this year, and I’m eager to work hard with my colleagues on the committee. My time on the City Council and as Mayor of Santa Clarita as well as the time I spent serving on the Assembly Local Government Committee from 2006-2008 gives me a base of knowledge and experience that I can draw on as I embrace this new responsibility.”
It was the first time that a member of the Republican party has been tapped to head the Local Government Committee since Richard Rainey in 1995-1996. Furthermore, it is the first time in memory that a member of the minority party has received the position of chairman on the committee.
“Speaker Pérez has made a good faith effort to address concerns that many members of the minority party have voiced about the makeup of our committees,” said Smyth. “Along with naming two committee chairs from the Republican caucus, he has also taken steps to ensure that the representation on committees is more reflective of the makeup of the house. Republicans account for about 36 percent of the Assembly, yet until now committees held barely a quarter of the seats.”
Democrats hold a majority in both houses of the state legislature.
The Assembly Committee on Local Government lists its primary jurisdictions as special taxes, city and county organization and powers, subdivisions, and administration of special districts. In his new role, Smyth will likely find himself in the middle of the fight between the State and local governments, who fear their coffers could be raided amid crushing state budget deficits.
“Local governments have taken some hard hits as part of recent budget solutions. I pride myself on being an advocate for local government, with first-hand knowledge of the impact that decisions in Sacramento have on local governments throughout the state. As chairman of Local Government, I intend to make sure that we take those impacts into account when making the difficult decisions that lie ahead.”
The other Republican assigned to head a committee was Assemblyman Paul Cook (Yucca Valley), who was assigned to the Veterans Affairs Committee.