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California Leaders Prepare To Fight Trump Administration

Damian Dovarganes / AP

California Gov. Jerry Brown, center, arrives with Senate President pro Tempore Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, right, and Assembly speaker Toni Atkins, second from right, to sign landmark legislation SB 350 to combat climate change.

Damian Dovarganes / AP

California’s most powerful elected officials are looking for ways to block President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican Congress from rolling back the state’s progressive policies.

California has expanded Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act, set sweeping climate change mandates, and offered help to immigrants living in the state illegally – all of which could come under fire from the Trump Administration.

Democratic Senate leader Kevin de León says he, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Gov. Jerry Brown have already begun planning for next year's transfer of power.

We don’t seek a defiant, adversarial relationship with the president-elect,“ De León says in an interview with Capital Public Radio airing on Monday's Insight. “We will collaborate and cooperate when we find common ground. But if our progressive policies and measures that have really helped California are harmed, undermined or threatened, we are prepared to defend the state of California.”

For example, De León wants to block state and local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with the federal government on rounding up immigrants.

“We can surely make sure that no state agency nor any local police agency collaborates or cooperates with the federal government
for the profiling of immigrants in the state of California,” he says.

And De León floated the idea of the state paying to continue health insurance for Californians who might lose their coverage under the Affordable Care Act, though he acknowledged the enormous cost could upend the state’s budget and credit rating.

Asked about the “Calexit“ secession movement that's gained traction since the election, the Senate leader said California “will always remain part of the United States of America. We’re all proud to be Americans, irrespective of the presidential election.“

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio