State con­gress­man to be sworn in

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Page Two - By Kath­leen Ron­ayne

SACRA­MENTO — Cal­i­for­nia U.S. Rep.-elect Jimmy Gomez is ex­pected to fi­nally join fel­low Democrats in Wash­ing­ton on July 11 — five weeks af­ter he won a spe­cial elec­tion to re­place Xavier Be­cerra, now Cal­i­for­nia’s at­tor­ney gen­eral.

Gomez, a Cal­i­for­nia state as­sem­bly­man, is the only spe­cial elec­tion win­ner this year who has not been sworn in, prompt­ing crit­i­cism from Repub­li­cans that he’s un­fairly leav­ing his Los An­ge­les con­stituents with­out rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Wash­ing­ton.

Gomez said that due to a fam­ily con­flict, he couldn’t join two Repub­li­cans who were elected af­ter him at a Mon­day swear­ing-in ses­sion.

His de­lay in tran­si­tion­ing to Wash­ing­ton ini­tially was prompted by hopes he’d stay in Sacra­mento long enough to pro­vide Cal­i­for­nia Democrats with a vote on key is­sues, in­clud­ing ex­tend­ing the state’s cap-and-trade pro­gram. Gov. Jerry Brown ini­tially set a June 15 goal for re­new­ing the pro­gram, and Gomez told the Los An­ge­les Times he hoped to stay in the assem­bly in or­der to vote for it.

That June 15 vote never hap­pened, though, and Brown and law­mak­ers are still ne­go­ti­at­ing an ex­ten­sion of the pro­gram, which caps to­tal car­bon emis­sions and re­quires busi­nesses to buy al­lowances in or­der to pol­lute.

Brown wants to pass the leg­is­la­tion with twothirds sup­port. Democrats hold a su­per­ma­jor­ity in the assem­bly by one seat, mean­ing with­out Gomez they could not lose any mem­bers to pass leg­is­la­tion along strictly party lines. Brown has said he’ll need some Repub­li­cans to back cap and trade as he faces Demo­cratic de­fec­tions.

The gover­nor wants a deal by July 21, the last day be­fore state law­mak­ers leave for sum­mer re­cess.

Mar­cella Cortez, a spokes­woman for Gomez, did not an­swer spe­cific ques­tions about Gomez’s po­si­tion on cap-and-trade or whether he still hoped to vote for it be­fore leav­ing for Wash­ing­ton.

Gomez won a spe­cial elec­tion June 6. His de­layed swear­ing-in has prompted par­ti­san spar­ring in Wash­ing­ton.

“The Demo­crat agenda in Sacra­mento must be made on its mer­its — not po­lit­i­cal deal mak­ing that leaves over 700,000 of our fel­low Cal­i­for­ni­ans with­out a rep­re­sen­ta­tive to their fed­eral govern­ment,” Repub­li­can House Ma­jor­ity Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote in a Tues­day let­ter to Gomez and Demo­cratic House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Democrats, mean­while, are de­fend­ing Gomez for stay­ing en­gaged in the state Leg­is­la­ture.

“I ap­plaud his com­mit­ment to en­sur­ing his home state and his Assem­bly district are well rep­re­sented in the crit­i­cal de­bates fac­ing Cal­i­for­nia at this time,” U.S. Rep. Joseph Crow­ley, chair­man of the House Demo­cratic Cau­cus, wrote to McCarthy.

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