2014-03-09T233056Z_2_CBREA28130400_RTROPTP_2_USA

California Democrats, eye on election, adopt activist agenda

California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at the 2014 California Democrats State Convention in Los AngelesBy Sharon Bernstein LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California Democrats wrapped up their annual convention on Sunday with an appeal to their progressive base even as leaders vowed to stay on a centrist path that has won wide popularity for Governor Jerry Brown and firm control over the state legislature. Facing the 2014 election season flush with a formidable political advantage in the most populous U.S. state, Democrats used the two-day gathering in Los Angeles to showcase their successes in California and to draw a contrast with partisan gridlock in Washington. They cited California’s improving economy and a newly exerted fiscal discipline that has allowed Brown to pay down the state’s debt as proof of Democrats’ ability to govern effectively. “We took a state that seemed to be a punch line for a national joke, and we made it a how-to guide for national governments,” incoming state Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins told the crowd.

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