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Former State Senator Pro Tem Kevin de León considered the California Energy Commission (CEC) a longtime partner in the efforts to champion California’s global leadership in combating climate change and building a 100% clean energy economy.

De León recognized that effort at a December 3 talk at the CEC.

“Regardless of who occupies the White House, no one is ever going to outdo California and the Energy Commission, and everything that we do here in California that is cutting-edge,” he said.

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De León, who is a candidate for the Los Angeles City Council in the 14th District, is a distinguished policymaker-in-residence and senior analyst at the University of California, Los Angeles Luskin School of Public Affairs.

During his talk, he spoke about his personal history, political beginnings, and dedication to sponsoring environmental legislation.

“I grew up in a neighbourhood that had a dearth of trees, no parks, no open space. Just cement, concrete, and asphalt,” he said. “And I think that’s where people begin to realize that political representation matters, whether you’re an elected official, or on the regulatory side.”

After attending UC Santa Barbara, de León became involved in local political activism in Los Angeles focusing primarily on immigrant rights, and organizing for the California Teachers Association. He served four years in the California State Assembly before being elected to represent the State Senate District 24 in 2010.

While serving in the Senate, de León authored key legislation on a wide range of environmental issues, including Senate Bill 350 and SB 100.

“We moved Senate Bill 350 and it was not easy, but we did get it across the finish line,” he said.

Following the passage of SB 350, he said he was inspired to further boost California’s clean energy targets after the 2016 election, and subsequent federal rollbacks on clean energy regulations.

SB 350 and SB 100 are part of California’s ambitious clean energy and climate policies that the CEC is working with other state agencies to implement.

SB 350, which was signed into law in 2015, established clean energy, clean air, and greenhouse gas reduction goals. SB 350 increases California’s renewable electricity procurement goal from 33% by 2020 to 50% by 2030. It also requires the state to double statewide energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas end uses by 2030.

SB 100, signed into law in 2018, established a landmark policy that requires the state to get 100 percent of its electricity from zero-carbon resources by 2045.

A slightly different version of this post first appeared on the California Energy Commission’s blog.

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