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Joel Anderson

California to get first female and first LGBT Senate leader

San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins will make history Wednesday when she becomes the first woman and first lesbian to hold the California Senate's top job.

A former Assembly speaker, Atkins is taking over the post of Senate president pro tem from fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon as the chamber gears up for election season and faces a number of thorny challenges, including a reckoning over sexual misconduct, a loss of the Democratic supermajority and an icy relationship with the state Assembly.

Atkins, whose colleagues describe her as measured, said she's not focused on making headlines.

"I think you're going to see my focus will be internally so you're not going to get...

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