By Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/08/2010 09:45:58 PM PST

State Sen. Bob Dutton is focused on California’s budget, but once that hurdle is cleared, he will prepare to take over leadership of the state Senate Republican Caucus.

Members of the caucus announced their decision this week to promote Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, to the leadership position.

Dutton will replace Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Temecula, who will be termed out at the end of the year.

The date that Dutton will take over has not been finalized.

“We’ll wait. We want to make sure it’s done at the appropriate time,” Dutton said. “We don’t want to create confusion and chaos.”

Dutton said he will make job creation a priority in the Inland Empire as well as the state.

“What’s good for the Inland Empire, in my opinion, is good for the entire state of California,” Dutton said. “My whole focus has been on the economy.

It’s been on the creation of jobs. That will continue to be the case.”

Nonetheless, Dutton said he is excited about the opportunity to serve as the Senate Republican leader.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Dennis (Hollingsworth) to make sure we’re doing the right thing for the people of California and the Inland Empire,” Dutton said. “I think it’s a great opportunity, of course it’s a tremendous challenge, but I’m up for it.”

Dutton will face some obstacles if the GOP remains in the minority in the Legislature, said Jack Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College.

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