Speaker of the California State Assembly Toni Atkins Motivates Women Leaders at She Shares Breakfast - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Speaker of the California State Assembly Toni Atkins Motivates Women Leaders at She Shares Breakfast

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SOURCE Dewey Square Group

Discusses Budget, Legislative Priorities and Personal History in Candid Exchange

SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Saying "I just wanted to get out of poverty," California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins told a sold-out Sacramento audience in highly personal terms about her journey from rural Virginia to one of the top positions in California politics at She Shares, a conversation series featuring California women leaders and produced by the Dewey Square Group. "I didn't plan to go into politics; it just happened," said Atkins. "There are always possibilities for your life to go in a different direction, and no matter where you are today, who knows where you will end up."

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140618/119198

Atkins, a former community organizer and City Councilmember in San Diego who currently represents the San Diego Assembly district, spoke about the state budget, advice for women in public service, and LGBT issues.  Atkins, who is openly gay, addressed comments by Texas Governor Rick Perry comparing homosexuality to alcoholism. "Thank you for your concern, Governor Perry, but I am not addicted to anything other than coffee," she said.

Saying that "we still have work to do" on equality, Atkins noted that her hometown paper in Roanoke, VA recently featured a photo of her kissing her spouse Jennifer LeSar after her swearing in, but that even in California there were still "places and times and ways that I probably wouldn't feel very comfortable taking Jennifer's hand."

Atkins also shared how her upbringing influenced her political views. "Affordable housing and homelessness are very important in terms of the policies I support," said Atkins. "I grew up without health care, so that is an important issue for me and making sure everyone has access to affordable healthcare. We went to free clinics growing up." Atkins also emphasized the importance of education funding, saying, "I wouldn't be here without education. We must have decent schools."

Today's She Shares discussion was moderated by Dewey Square Group's Karen Breslau, an award-winning former correspondent for Newsweek, and is the latest in a quarterly  conversation series Dewey Square launched in 2012 featuring trailblazing women who have made a difference in California and beyond.

In partnership with the California Center for Civic Participation, She Shares is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that also provides mentoring and networking opportunities for future women leaders. Each year, six young women from the Capitol region are paired with a professional woman of the She Shares community for a year of mentoring, workshops and career development. "It's really helping me figure out what I want to become when I grow up," said Brianna White, a rising sophomore at Consumnes Oaks High School in Elk Grove. "I get to explore all these different jobs and learn to network, which will benefit me in the future." White is paired with mentor Emilie Cameron, Senior Public Relations Manager at 3fold Communications. 

She Shares is presented by Dewey Square Group and the California Center for Civic Participation with founding sponsors Lucas Public Affairs, Thomas Law Group and Skelton Strategies. It is also generously sponsored by Kaiser Permanente; Pfizer; AT&T; Gilson Government Strategies; Marcy Friedman; Orrick; Political Solutions; State Farm; The California Endowment; Lehman, Levi, Pappas & Sadler; VSP Global; Comstock's Magazine; KCRA; The California Channel and The Sacramento Bee.

Previous She Shares speakers include California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye; California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris; Executive Secretary to Governor Jerry Brown, Nancy McFadden; producer, writer and director of "Miss Representation" Jennifer Siebel Newsom; UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi; First Lady and Special Counsel to the Governor, Anne Gust Brown; Former Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm; President of Business Operations for the Sacramento Kings, Matina Kolokotronis; and journalist, author, and activist Maria Shriver.

The next conversation in the 2014 She Shares series will be held September 11, 2014 and will feature Eleni Kounalakis, former United States Ambassador to Hungary and chairwoman of the California Advisory Council for International Trade and Investment.

For more information about She Shares email us at sheshares@deweysquare.com.
To join the conversation, find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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