John Perez, an out gay man, has been unanimously elected as the California Assembly’s speaker by a caucus of his Democratic colleagues.

He will take over from incumbent Karen Bass to hold one of the most powerful political positions in the state.

Perez joined the Assembly one year ago and will hold the speaker’s position for five years, as there is a six-year limit on terms.

He beat Assemblyman Kevin de Leon in the race.

He will begin the role in January after the formality of a floor vote.

In a statement, Perez said: “I want to thank the members of the Assembly Democratic Caucus for the faith they have placed in me. It is a humbling privilege.

“I will work every day to justify that faith and to earn the enormous honour of having been drafted to serve as speaker.”