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California Lawmaker Proposes Marriage on Assembly Floor

Sacramento Bee/Zuma(WATSONVILLE, Calif.) -- A California lawmaker used the floor of the state assembly this week not to propose legislation but to propose marriage instead to his girlfriend of seven years.

Assemblyman Luis Alejo, 38, a Democrat from Watsonville, Calif. was at Sacramento’s capital building on Monday for the presentation of awards to Latino leaders from the state.

Since it was his seventh anniversary seeing Karina Cervantez, 32, he had invited her to sit with him in the assembly hall for the ceremony, saying that he would introduce her to his colleagues.

He began Cervantez’s introduction by saying that she was completing her doctoral degree in social psychology at University of California Santa Cruz.  Then he took a personal turn. Alejo described Cervantez as the love of his life, best friend and smartest person he knows. And Cervantez knew this was no typical introduction.

“There was a little bit of panic in my face,” she told ABC News. “I was thinking, ‘Wow, this is really happening.’”

Sure enough, Alejo popped the question.

“It was a complete surprise,” Cervantez said. “I said yes right away, but I said yes very quietly just to him. And then he got on the microphone and announced it.”

“I became the happiest man alive when she said yes,” Alejo told ABC News.

He said he had been brainstorming how to pop the question for weeks when the perfect plan dawned on him.

“When you propose to the love of your life, it should be done at a special place and should only be done once in your lifetime,” he said. “Over the past few months, I was thinking where to have this special occasion take place to make it memorable and unforgettable. I decided there was not a better place than the floor of the state assembly.”

Alejo and Cervantez both come from migrant worker families, so he thought the location would be symbolic of their successes.

“For us, it’s like a dream come true just to be serving in this capacity at the state capital,” he said.

Alejo called Cervantez’s parents on Sunday night to ask for their blessing and they gave it to him -- sort of.

“They said, ‘That’s not for us to decide. Our daughter will decide. Call us back and let us know what she says,’” Alejo recalled with a laugh.

He wanted to keep his plans secret but checked with assembly officials to see if it would be alright.  He asked his seatmate, Assemblyman Bill Monning of Carmel, Calif., to hide the ring and hand it to him when the time came.

“I proposed to her at my desk on the floor. What a wonderful place, in front of all my colleagues and my mother who was there. There was no shortage of witnesses,” Alejo said. “I wanted to make it unforgettable and we certainly achieved that yesterday.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio