California Legislative Progressive Caucus Announces New Leadership, Elects Assemblymember Ash Kalra as Chair

Thursday, February 4, 2021

SACRAMENTO – The California Legislative Progressive Caucus elected Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) to serve as its Chair for the 2021-2022 legislative session. He is joined by Vice Chairs, Assemblymembers Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) and Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles).

“I am honored to be elected by my colleagues to serve as chair of the California Legislative Progressive Caucus, and to help guide a strategic, thoughtful approach to advancing a compassionate, inclusive agenda for Californians—especially during an extremely challenging time that has exacerbated long-standing societal inequities,” said Assemblymember Kalra. “My colleague and Chair Emeritus Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer has honorably served our caucus during his tenure and I look forward to building on his work alongside other values-based, principled progressive legislative leaders.”

Assemblymember Kalra was first elected to the California Legislature in 2016 and is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment. He has established himself as a leader on issues ranging from criminal justice reform to the environment, and has championed legislation on health care sustainability, housing affordability, growing transportation infrastructure, and expanding economic opportunity to all Californians. Assemblymember Kalra is also committed to being a corporate-free candidate by rejecting corporate PAC contributions and is a signatory to the “No Cop Money” pledge. He is the first Indian-American to serve in the California Legislature in state history.

“It is my privilege to begin a second term as Vice Chair of the Assembly’s Progressive Caucus during a time when so many are counting on us to do right by those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Assemblymember Carrillo, who also serves as Chair of Subcommittee 4 - State Administration for the Assembly Budget Committee. “The pandemic has shed light on what we already know - poor and marginalized people in rural and urban communities have little access to resources and opportunities and deserve better than to be short-changed by an unwillingness to do more than tinker around the edges of the status quo. Every Californian deserves to live with dignity and have their humanity and rights recognized, and I know the Caucus is up to the task.”

“I am excited to serve as Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus along with my colleagues Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo and Chair Assemblymember Ash Kalra,” said Assemblymember Santiago, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance as well as the Assembly Select Committee on Los Angeles County Homelessness. “We must continue our work to expand healthcare to all Californians, address climate change, protect our immigrant communities, and meet the urgent needs of Californians hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have a duty to push the Legislature to ensure every Californian has access to food, housing, employment, education, healthcare and so much more.”

The Caucus also welcomes Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San Jose), the first openly bisexual legislator and youngest member to ever join the State Assembly, as Parliamentarian. Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development, now serves as Policy Chair and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), who co-chairs the Special Committee on Legislative Ethics, serves as Programs Chair. The Secretary position is currently vacant.

Priorities for the caucus include fighting for economic justice and economic security for all, protecting and preserving civil rights and civil liberties, promoting secure and peaceful communities for all residents, and advancing environmental protection and climate change policies.

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The California Legislative Progressive Caucus represents and advocates for progressive values and policies for the benefit of California residents. The Caucus seeks to represent progressive values in policies developed, written, and adopted by the California legislature; support and advance progressive budgets with the understanding that budgets are ultimately moral documents that speak to the values we hold dear; support and defend policies put forth by progressive legislators; and work with other communities and stakeholders and legislative caucuses on efforts and issues of common interest.