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John Pérez
Name at BirthJohn A. Pérez
BornSeptember 28, 1969
BirthplaceCalifornia, USA
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
Known For:former Speaker of the California State Assembly

John A. Pérez (born September 28, 1969) is a union organizer and politician from Los Angeles, California, who was the Speaker of the California State Assembly from March 1, 2010 to May 12, 2014. A Democrat, he represented the 53rd district in the California State Assembly. On October 9, 2013, Pérez announced his candidacy for State Controller.[1] Pérez finished third in the election, trailing Betty Yee by 481 votes. After initially calling for a recount in 15 California counties, Pérez ultimately conceded to Yee more than a month after the election.[2][3] After the election, in late 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Perez as a University of California Regent.[4]

Early life and career

Pérez grew up in El Sereno and Highland Park before attending the University of California, Berkeley. He did not graduate from Berkeley but dropped out after his junior year citing family medical reasons in mid-1990. Early biographies of Pérez dating back to the 1990s called him a Berkeley graduate, a misstatement that was repeated in several press releases issued by Los Angeles mayors and in 2004 remarks inserted by Congresswoman Hilda Solis into the Congressional Record. When the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about these inconsistencies in May 2011, Pérez's office verified that he was not a Berkeley graduate.[5]

Pérez is the cousin of Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and has spent seven years handling political matters for the United Food and Commercial Workers, a union representing supermarket workers.[6] He has also served as political director of the California Labor Federation.[7] He was a member of the board of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency until 2008, when he resigned to run for the Assembly.


Pérez is openly gay[8] and the first openly LGBT Speaker of the California State Assembly.[9] After Minnesota's Allan Spear, he is the second LGBT person elected to lead a state legislative chamber. His election as speaker preceded the February 2010 election of Gordon D. Fox, an openly gay Democrat, to be speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, though Fox took office immediately and Pérez did not take office until March 1.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund endorsed Pérez for election.[10] He is a member of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.


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