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New Assembly speaker John Pérez talks rubber ducks, text-messaging in first day on the job

March 1, 2010 |  2:05 pm
As lawmakers past and present gathered in Sacramento to witness the swearing in of John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) as assembly speaker, they were all treated to a token of the new speaker's affection -- a small rubber ducky emblazoned with the state seal and the new speaker's name.

So, Mr. Speaker, what's with the duck?

According to a Pérez spokesman, the new assembly boss actually collects them. Perez estimates he has hundreds of the little critters -- all quite by accident.

Pérez's duck collection stems from a dirty joke he once told a friend. Pérez now estimates he has hundreds of the plastic bath toys.

In his remarks after taking the oath of office Monday, Pérez offered another gift to his Republican colleagues -- announcing he would appoint two Republican committee chairmen later this week.

While extending an olive branch to his Republican counterparts, Pérez began his tenure by targeting lobbyists. "As of today, text messages from lobbyists are banned on the floor," he said to applause from members. The remark got a decidedly cooler reception from the dozens of lobbyists gathered in the back of the Assembly chambers.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento