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The 2015 Pension 40: Kevin de León

No. 6 Kevin de León, Senator and Senate President Pro Tempore / California

Kevin de León
Senator and Senate President Pro Tempore / California
Last year: 25

The powerful head of the California State Senate, Kevin de León, is among a handful of lawmakers, labor leaders, academics and activists trying to develop new approaches to retirement security. “California is leading the way to provide a modicum of dignity and respect to the millions of workers who today have no access to any type of retirement security at their place of employment,” says de León, 49. In 2012, the former community organizer and first high-school graduate in his family proposed and helped pass the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust Act. The law — the first of its kind — was signed by Governor Jerry Brown and created a savings retirement trust for some 7 million low-wage private sector workers not receiving pension benefits in California. Similar efforts are now under way in other states, including Connecticut, Maryland and Oregon. The Secure Choice movement received a boost in November, when the Department of Labor issued guidance intended to help states develop these programs in line with ERISA (see Phyllis Borzi, No. 5).”This is the most far-reaching retirement security plan for private investors since Social Security,” says De León, who recently coauthored an oped on the topic with Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. De León is also a committed environmentalist who won his 2014 bid for senate leadership with backing of allies that included hedge-fund-manager-turned-climate-change-activist Tom Steyer. In September the senate passed a de León-sponsored bill requiring the state’s two largest pension plans, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, to divest from coal companies.

The 2015 Pension 40

1. Bruce Rauner
2. John & Laura Arnold
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
3. Chris Christie
New Jersey
4. Randi Weingarten
AmericanFederation of Teachers
5. Phyllis Borzi
U.S. Department of Labor
6. Kevin de León
7. Alejandro García Padilla
Commonwealth ofPuerto Rico
8. Laurence Fink
9. Rahm Emanuel
10. Sean McGarvey
North AmericanBuilding Trades Unions
11. John Kline
12. J. Mark Iwry
U.S. TreasuryDepartment
13. Damon Silvers
14. Jeffrey Immelt
General Electric Co.
15. Joshua Gotbaum
Brookings Institution
16. Robin Diamonte
United Technologies Corp.
17. Mark Mullet
18. Terry O'Sullivan
Laborers' International Union of North America
19. Raymond Dalio
Bridgewater Associates
20. Ted Wheeler
21. Thomas Nyhan
Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund
22. Karen Ferguson & Karen Friedman
Pensions Rights Center
23. Randy DeFrehn
National Coordinating Committee forMultiemployer Plans
24. Robert O'Keef
Motorola Solutions
25. Caitlin Long
Morgan Stanley
26. Kenneth Feinberg
The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg
27. Orrin Hatch
28. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University
29. Ian Lanoff
Groom Law Group
30. Joshua Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business
31. Ted Eliopoulos
California Public Employees' Retirement System
32. Edward (Ted) Siedle
Benchmark Financial Services
33. Teresa Ghilarducci
New School for Social Research
34. Denise Nappier
35. W. Thomas Reeder Jr.
Pension BenefitGuaranty Corp.
36. Hank Kim
National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems
37. Paul Singer
Elliott Management Corp.
38. Bailey Childers
National PublicPension Coalition
39. Amy Kessler
Prudential Financial
40. Judy Mares
U.S. Labor Department

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