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'Representation truly does matter': Asm. James Ramos named Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee

The state's first California Native American elected to the legislature was named to Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — New year, new California legislature and new Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee.

An appointment celebration was held Wednesday for Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino) at the state capitol.

The event was attended by local leaders and tribal leaders from Northern, Central and Southern California.

"We had cultural performances there in the rotunda for the first time in the history of the state of California," said Ramos. "We had Yuroks that sang some songs... we had Miwok Nisenan cultural presentation and Southern California Cahuilla Bird Singers. That has never been done on the floor of the rotunda, let alone having a chair of rules as a California Indian person."

As Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee, Ramos and the committee have primary jurisdiction for matters relating to the business of the Assembly, including assignment of bills to committees, staffing, and other house procedural responsibilities.

"First, being rules committee chair is a position that oversees the House. It's a leadership position and to have a California Indian in this position, when back in history, when the decision to put bounties out on California Indian people in the state of California, that same request went through the Rules Committee back in time," said Ramos. "So now we're chairing that Rules Committee and bringing to light a lot of the changes that have happened and the history of the state to where we are now."

Ramos has a lengthy history in the California Legislature. Being the first California Native American to serve in the state’s legislature, he had his hand in dozens of bills impacting Indian Country and beyond.

Related: Native American history and banning a slur | Here's the 5 tribal bills signed into law

During a quick interview with ABC10, Ramos spoke about what his new role means not just to him but in the scope of representation.

"I think it shows that if I can do it, anyone could do it," said Ramos. "It's great, the testimony that's there to bring back into Indian Country, to engage our youth, to engage those that want to get engaged in the system because representation truly does matter. There's no way that we would have been able to tackle the amount of bills that we've been able to do in such a short period of time if you're not sitting in the seats."

According to a Facebook post on his page, "the appointment is the first time a California Native American has held this position." Ramos was appointed to the position in Dec. 2022.

"I believe there's a dawning of our people, for those voices that are still crying out from the grounds of the state of California," said Ramos. "Tell them who we are as California people, share our culture. Let them know the true history of what happened, the impacts to our people, but also show them the resiliency of our people to overcome and continue to be successful in the state of California."

Watch: James Ramos, the First California Native American Named as Assembly Rules Chair

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