Plescia ousted, Villines tapped as new minority leader

As the governor and Democrats speak about bipartisanship and compromise, Assembly Republicans flexed their muscles early, picking a leader they hope will take a firmer stand with Gov. Schwarzenegger in budget negotiations.

By choosing Assemblyman Mike Villines, R-Fresno, to replace George Plescia, R-San Diego, as their leader, Assembly Republicans have signaled they are ready to take a more confrontational tone with Democrats and Gov. Schwarzenegger.

Assemblywoman Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, said that move was at least partially motivated by a desire for the Republican Caucus to be more “proactive.” While she didn’t lay out specific policy proposals they would be likely to pursue under Villines’ leadership, she did say that they were looking at putting forth some health-care reforms.

“I don’t think it was one decision in particular,” Walters said, then added, “I think the caucus is looking to take another direction, perhaps more aggressive.”

Steve Maviglio, deputy chief of staff to Speaker Fabian N

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