Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) is President pro Tempore of the California State Senate and is a newly announced candidate for the United States Senate. After taking part in a Zócalo/AARP panel discussion titled “Are Housing Prices Destroying the California Dream?“—and three days before he entered the U.S. Senate race—de León talked about the questions he gets, the food he eats, and what’s on his television.
What is the first sound you hear when you wake up in the morning?
What’s your go-to place to eat in Sacramento?
As of late, it’s a place called Fish Face—it’s poke—at 11th and R Streets.
What was the last book you read?
Thomas Friedman’s latest book, Thank You for Being Late.
Do you spend 30 percent or more of your income on housing?
Yes, pretty close to it—within the margin of error.
What do you miss most about your time attending Pitzer College?
Not having all the responsibilities and stresses on your shoulders.
What’s the scariest thing about climate change?
Donald Trump. And Scott Pruitt.
What question do you get most often from your staff?
“What’s your ETA?”
What question do you get most often from your caucus (in the Senate)?
Probably “What’s for lunch?”
What’s your process for making major career decisions?
I ask: Does it make sense? And can you be in a position that helps you make the biggest impact in improving the human condition?
Of all the things Gov. Jerry Brown has said to you over the years, which do you find yourself thinking about the most?
At the signing for Senate Bill 350 [a landmark climate change bill in 2015] in Griffith Park, he said, “Kevin, I don’t know how the hell you did this.” That was his way of giving a compliment.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Mean people—totally. Also, you know when you’re taking a nap and you have a fly that’s buzzing around you? I hate that.
What kind of mobile device do you use?
When you turn on your TV at home, what channel is most likely to be on?
Depending on the day, either Netflix or Anthony Bourdain. Other than Games of Thrones, Narcos, Anthony Bourdain or Rachel Maddow, I don’t watch a lot of TV.