Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) has been named chairman of the Assembly Local Government Committee by Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles).

“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.”

Smyth, who served six years on the Santa Clarita City Council, including two terms as Mayor, becomes the first Republican chairman of the Local Government Committee since Richard Rainey (R-Walnut Creek) held the post during the 1995-96 legislative session.  It is unclear when, if ever, the Local Government chairman has come from the minority party.

“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.”

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.

“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.”