Assembly GOP Leader Steps Down Over Pressure On Climate Vote

SACRAMENTO (AP) — The California Assembly’s top Republican said Thursday he will resign his leadership post after weeks of pressure from his party over his support for major climate change legislation.

Assemblyman Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley will be replaced as leader by Assemblyman Brian Dahle of Bieber, a tiny town in far northern California.

The 25-member Republican caucus voted unanimously to install Dahle as leader. He will take over after the Assembly leaves for its final recess of the year Sept. 15.

Dahle, a farmer elected in 2012, said he will pursue policies that “move California in a direction and make it a place where people want to buy a home and have a career, send their kids to a good school and live the California dream.”

Mayes said he realized Wednesday night that Dahle had enough support to become the next leader and decided to call a vote the next morning.

“He has proven himself to be a very strong leader,” Mayes said, adding that he will work with Dahle to ensure a smooth transition. “His heart and his character and the vision that he has is symbiotic with what I believe as well and so he’ll do a fantastic job.”

For weeks, Mayes had vowed to withstand party pressure to resign after he led a group of seven Assembly Republicans in backing an extension of California’s cap and trade program, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by charging polluters.

He said his vote in favor of the legislation was good for business and would help the party appeal to a wider swath of voters.

Many Republicans argued the program will hurt businesses and consumers, and they criticized Mayes for delivering a win to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

The board of the California Republican Party called last week for Mayes to resign.

Dahle represents one of the state’s most rural areas. He voted against the cap and trade extension as well as a companion bill aimed at improving air quality monitoring.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

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