Another historic moment for the state.
Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed L.A.’s Alex Padilla to California in the U.S. Senate, replacing Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. This marks another historic moment as Padilla will be the first Latino to represent the state in the Senate—though they represent more than any other ethnic or racial group in the state.
“His appointment will make history. But the @AlexPadilla4CA I know is far more interested in changing history — especially for the working men and women of our state and country, Newsom said in a Tweet.”
Alex Padilla is a leader in the fight to expand voting rights & secure elections. He oversaw record voter registration & turnout in 2020.
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) December 22, 2020
Padilla is the son of Mexican immigrants and grew up in San Fernando Valley. After earning his degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of technology, he was catapulted into the political spotlight when he became a member of the city council and the city’s youngest council president at 26. He is California’s current two-term secretary of state and will now be a state senator.
Padilla will see out the remainder of Harris’ term, meaning he’ll face a highly competitive statewide race to fill the seat in 2022.
“I am humbled and honored to serve as California’s next United States Senator. Thank you, @GavinNewsom, for entrusting me with the role of defending the dream for the people of California,” Padilla said in a Tweet.
Newsom faced pressure from various Latino leaders and Black Democratic groups and while this is a new chapter for the state, Harris’ exit will leave no Black women in the Senate.
However, hours after appointing Padilla, Newsom nominated Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber of San Diego to become the next secretary of State. This would create another first, as Weber would be the first Black woman to hold that position in the state’s history.
Feature Image Alex Padilla via Twitter