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Assemblywoman blasts GOP leader for cap-and-trade vote

SACRAMENTO — Accusing Assembly GOP Leader Chad Mayes of “dereliction of duty,” Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez on Thursday quit her post as the assistant Republican leader, according to reports.
The announcement comes just days after Mayes joined seven other Republicans in voting to extend California’s cap-and-trade program to 2030, The Press-Enterprise reported .
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Cap-and-trade allows businesses to buy credits to emit pollution with an eye toward gradually cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but some conservatives view the program as a burdensome, red-tape laden excuse for raising taxes, according to the newspaper.
“Californians are struggling to make ends meet and unfortunately, what I have witnessed by the Assembly Republican Leader is a dereliction of duty to preserve and promote the American Dream for every single Californian,” Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, said in a release.
“Assemblyman Mayes’ actions on cap-and-trade demonstrate we no longer share the same leadership principles. I was elected by the people of my district to fight for a more affordable and decent California, a place where every Californian knows their child will have a better life than their own.
“Regrettably, I can no longer, in good conscience, serve as the assistant Republican leader.”
In an emailed response to the assemblywoman, Mayes, R-Yucca Valley, reportedly said: “I thank her for her service as assistant leader and we are now focused on moving the caucus forward.”
Mayes said in a post-vote statement that extending cap-and-trade to 2030 would clean up the environment for future generations and cut the cost of taxes, fees and regulations by $16 billion a year for “ordinary Californians,” The Press-Enterprise reported.
“Protecting the earth and protecting your paycheck is no longer an either-or decision,” he said.
Mayes also is facing accusations of having an extramarital affair with his predecessor, Kristen Olsen.
A blog post published Sunday by Southern California conservative activist Joseph Turner included a letter from Turner’s estranged husband, Rod, to the Assembly requesting an investigation into whether any state resources were used to conceal a relationship between his wife and Mayes. Turner later confirmed the authenticity of the letter.
While rumors of the affair had been swirling in Sacramento long before Turner’s blog post, the story didn’t surface publicly until the throes of high-stakes negotiations over the cap-and-trade program.
Staff writer Casey Tolan contributed to this report.

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