The University of California Board of Regents elected former state politician and Regents Vice Chair John A. Pérez to succeed George Kieffer as chair of the board at its July 1 meeting.
Regent Cecilia Estolano was voted in as Pérez’s successor.
“I look forward to working closely with my fellow board members to continue UC’s tripartite mission of education, research and public service, while giving our students the tools and resources they need for success at UC and beyond,” Pérez said in a press release sent out by the UC on Monday.
The Board of Regents is a governing body comprised of 26 members that govern the UC system, according to the UC Office of the President (UCOP). The board is also tasked with reviewing and approving recommendations from current President Janet Napolitano on matters such as academic plans, “capital improvements budgets” and nonresident tuition, according to the UCOP.
Prior to assuming the role of board chair, Pérez worked as a regent after being appointed to the position in 2014 by former California Gov. Jerry Brown. In the years leading up to his appointment as a regent, Pérez spent his time as a state politician.
In 2008, Pérez was elected to the State Assembly where he represented Downtown and East Los Angeles, according to his biography on the UC’s website. In 2010, Pérez was elected to serve as California’s 68th Assembly Speaker; after seeking re-election in 2010 and 2012, he became “one of the longest serving Speakers in the era of term limits.”
During his time in politics, Pérez worked to amend the state’s budget issues, increase the state’s credit rating and, through the passage of the Middle Class Scholarship Act, “provided tuition relief of up to 40 percent for nearly 100,000 California State University and University of California students,” according to the press release.
Pérez was also the first openly gay speaker in California’s State Assembly. In 2012, Pérez addressed the Democratic National Convention, the first time a state legislative leader has done so in history, according to the UC’s website.