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MITCHELL.JPGCalifornia's state senate can again claim a full house.

In front of a Senate chamber humming with friends, family members and a handful of fellow lawmakers, former Assemblywoman Holly J. Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, took the oath of office Thursday afternoon to represent the 26th Senate District.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, lavished praise on the newest Democratic senator.

"She has demonstrated over her years in the Legislature on the green carpet a tenacity, a purpose and a willingness to fight for the least among us," Steinberg said, alluding to the green color scheme decorating the Assembly chambers. (The Senate's is red.)

For her part, Mitchell fought back emotion as she vowed to focus on working families and noted that her presence in the Senate marks a milestone.

"I will be the first black woman (to serve in the Senate) in over 10 years," Mitchell said, "and I am going to wear that badge with honor."

Mitchell's chances of claiming the seat former senator Curren Price vacated after winning election to the Los Angeles City Council were never seriously in doubt. Democrats now control 28 seats in the Senate, one more than they need for the two-thirds majority that allows them to raise taxes, pass urgency measures or put constitutional amendments on the ballot without Republican assent.

PHOTO: Senator-elect Holly J. Mitchell shares a moment with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg in the Senate chambers in Sacramento on Sept. 26, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Jeremy B. White.



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