Toni Atkins has carved out her place in history as California’s first gay governor—albeit temporarily. In fact, she is the only governor to ever “come to office” openly gay. The only other openly gay governor was New Jersey’s Jim McGreevey, who came out in his resignation speech in 2004.
As Assembly Speaker, Toni Atkins became acting governor of California on Wednesday (for a few hours anyway) while Governor Jerry Brown is away on travel. Not only is she the first LGBT individual to ever act as governor in the state, she is also the only woman to ever do so.
On her Facebook, Atkins posted: “I feel so grateful to fill the role as Acting Governor today. I wish my parents could see this. Now I know that may sound hokey to many. But honestly, this is what is going through my mind. If Governor Brown wants a few more days away I’m here for him!”
Atkins hails from San Diego. Among other issues she has been involved in as a legislator, Atkins has worked to revoke spousal rights of abusive partners. On Saturday, she stated that the biggest issue California currently faces is water.