Capitol Alert

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Forget bipartisanship.

Scrap a roll call vote.

Assemblyman Luis Alejo pulled an Assembly surprise that cannot be amended, rescinded or reversed by the house Monday when he proposed marriage to his longtime love, Karina Cervantez, during a floor session.

She quickly said yes.

The Watsonville Democrat had invited Cervantez to the Capitol, in part, because the Assembly was scheduled to honor the week of Cinco de Mayo by presenting awards to Latino leaders from throughout California.

After the awards ceremony, Alejo took the microphone to introduce Cervantez, a 32-year-old student completing a doctoral degree at UC Santa Cruz. The couple, who have dated seven years, met while both were working on a school board campaign.

Recalling his proposal later Monday, Alejo said he began by introducing Cervantez as beautiful, the love of his life, the daughter of migrant farm workers, his best friend, and the smartest person he knows.

"I turned to her and said, 'Karina, on this day and at this special moment, I want to ask you if you would make me the happiest man on Earth by marrying me."

Alejo said he planned to get down on his knees, awaiting her reply, but while he was contemplating that, Cervantez began to stand.

"It was definitely not professionally choreographed," Cervantez quipped as Alejo retold the story.

She said yes on the Assembly floor - and Alejo grabbed the microphone to announce the news to colleagues and to his mother, Mary Lou Alejo, who had come to witness the proposal.

Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Carmel, then handed Alejo the diamond ring that the latter had asked him to hide.

Alejo's is the first marriage proposal on the Assembly floor in recent memory, if not the first ever. Chief Clerk Dotson Wilson said it is the only such proposal during his tenure, which began in 1992.

Alejo said he had asked Cervantez's parents for her hand Sunday night, and they had replied, "We don't decide - she's going to decide, so let us know tomorrow what she tells you."

The first-term lawmaker said Cervantez had no idea that he was going to pop the question Monday. The only people he had told, Alejo said, were his mother, his staff, her parents and Monning.

"It's a dream for me to be working in this building as an Assembly member, and I wanted to make it a special occasion for Karina and something that none of us will ever forget," he said.

Alejo and Cervantez, who currently live together in Watsonville, have not yet set a date for their wedding.



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