Assembly Democrats have picked Assemblyman Anthony Rendon of Lakewood as the 70th speaker of the Assembly, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego announced Thursday.

Assemblyman Anthony Rendon of Lakewood. Photo via

The leadership change will occur after a floor vote in January and a transition period to be determined by the speaker and the speaker-elect, her office said.

Term limits require Atkins to give up her Assembly seat in 2016. A former member of the San Diego City Council, Atkins was elected speaker in March 2014 and assumed the position two months later.

Rendon, 47, first elected in 2012, is eligible to serve until 2024 under new term limits rules.

“With the crush of business facing us in the coming final week of the legislative session, I decided it’s time to end all the suspense and speculation so we can focus our undivided attention on the critical issues before us,” Atkins said.

“The caucus has made an excellent choice, and I’m delighted to see everyone uniting behind Assemblymember Rendon. I know he will find the job as rewarding and challenging as I do.”

Rendon said he was deeply honored to “have the support of my colleagues” as speaker.

Toni Atkins, speaker of California Assembly.

“I also know I have a very tough act to follow, which is why I’ll be working to learn as much as I can from Speaker Atkins as she leads us through the end of session and into next year,” he said. “I am proud to be part of the speaker’s team as we finish a very productive year and prepare for more successes in 2016.”

Rendon serves as chair of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee. Before joining the Assembly, he was an educator, nonprofit executive director and environmental activist.

His 63rd Assembly District includes the cities and communities of Bell, Cudahy, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, North Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount and South Gate.

Rendon was formerly executive director of Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services Inc., which has 35 child development centers throughout Los Angeles County.

Before working at Plaza, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​he served as the interim executive director of the California League of Conservation Voters from June 2008 to February 2009, where he boasts of helping pass SB 375 — what he calls a first-in-the-nation law that gave local and state officials the tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by “making housing and transportation planning decisions that will reduce urban sprawl, long-distance commutes and vehicle miles traveled per household.”

He attended Cerritos College before earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University Fullerton.

He earned a Ph.D. from UC Riverside and completed postdoctoral work at Boston University. He served as adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at Cal State Fullerton from January 2001 to May 2008.