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Republican Assemblymen Cameron Smyth and Paul Cook were named to chair policy committees Thursday, marking the first time in eight years that GOP Assembly members have been handed a committee gavel.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, who became leader of the house this month, unveiled his caucus leadership team and composition of 47 policy committees and subcommittees.

Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, will chair the local government committee. Cook, a Yucca Valley Republican who earned a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam, will chair the veterans affairs committee.

Then-Assembly Republicans Richard Dickerson and Lynn Daucher were the last members of their party to serve as committee chairs. Both were appointed in 2002, according to the speaker's office.

"When I was sworn-in as Speaker I said we must embrace bipartisan cooperation in order to create jobs, turn the economy around and help solve the many other challenges facing the state," Pérez said in a prepared statement.

Pérez's key lieutenants will include Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, who was chosen as speaker pro tempore; Charles Calderon, D-Whittier, majority floor leader; and Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, majority policy leader.

Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, will serve as majority whip; Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, as Democratic Caucus chairman; and Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, as Rules Committee chairwoman.

Other members of Pérez's leadership team are Isadore Hall, D-Compton, assistant speaker pro tempore; Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, assistant majority floor leader; and Lori Saldaña, San Diego, assistant whip.

Felipe Fuentes, D-Los Angeles, will chair the powerful Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Click here for a full list of Assembly committee chairs and leadership appointments.



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