There's been a change in the lower chamber of the California legislature. This afternoon Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins will be sworn in to replace termed-out Speaker John Perez.

Atkins is the 69th Assembly Speaker of California. She is only the third woman to hold the position. 

It marks another step in a journey that began modestly in a home with no indoor plumbing.

"Because of that she brings a great deal of humility to the position, she appreciates her own personal history, and her story is a compelling one," said Local Assemblyman Roger Dickinson.

He says Atkins' perseverance helped legislation that revitalized at-risk development projects in West Sacramento.

"The governor signed her bill earlier this year that he had vetoed just last fall," Dickinson said. 

Among her priorities for this year are enacting a reasonable budget and getting a new water bond on the November ballot.

"If I can add my own personal concern -- reducing homelessness and providing affordable housing -- including for our state's growing population of veterans," she says. 

Atkins is the first San Diegan to be Speaker.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson congratulated Atkins as she was sworn in.

Torlakson said: "For many years, she has shown tremendous leadership as a staunch advocate for her community. She brings a wealth of experience and trailblazing attitude to the speakership -- I'm confident Speaker Atkins will be an outstanding and passionate leader of the Assembly."

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway issued a statement that said:

"Today, California witnessed something that has happened only twice before in our state's history -- the swearing-in of a woman as the Speaker of the Assembly. This is an especially poignant occasion for me, as today marks the first time in state history that the Assembly Speaker and the Minority Leader are both women."

"...While Speaker Atkins and I will not perfectly align on every issue, I extend to her my hand of bipartisan cooperation, and stand ready to work across party lines to ensure that the voices of all Californians are well represented in the People's House."

 PHOTOS: Toni Atkins Sworn in as Assembly Speaker