(KGTV) – Gov. Gavin Newsom selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
In a statement, Newsom said of Padilla:
“The son of Mexican immigrants -- a cook and house cleaner -- Alex Padilla worked his way from humble beginnings to the halls of MIT, the Los Angeles City Council and the State Senate, and has become a national defender of voting rights as California’s Secretary of State. Now, he will serve in the halls of our nation’s Capitol as California’s next United States Senator, the first Latino to hold this office. Through his tenacity, integrity, smarts and grit, California is gaining a tested fighter in their corner who will be a fierce ally in D.C., lifting up our state’s values and making sure we secure the critical resources to emerge stronger from this pandemic. He will be a Senator for all Californians.”
Padilla becomes California’s first Latino senator; the state has never had a Latino senator even though the California is nearly 40% Latino.
Padilla said, “I am honored and humbled by the trust placed in me by Governor Newsom, and I intend to work each and every day to honor that trust and deliver for all Californians. From those struggling to make ends meet to the small businesses fighting to keep their doors open to the health care workers looking for relief, please know that I am going to the Senate to fight for you. We will get through this pandemic together and rebuild our economy in a way that doesn’t leave working families behind.”
The 47-year-old Democrat has served as Secretary of State since 2015. He was previously a member of the Los Angeles City Council and was a state senator.
Since Harris’ departure, Newsom had faced some pressure to name a Latino or a Black woman as a replacement.
San Diego-based Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said in a statement: "Governor Newsom made the right choice. I'm proud of the work Secretary Padilla has done to make voting more accessible for every Californian. It's been my great pleasure to work closely with him on our efforts to establish automatic voter registration, expand vote centers, and postage-paid ballots. I know with today's historic appointment, he will make us proud as our state's next Senator and ensure Californians have the representation we need in Washington."
The Los Angeles Times reported that Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, is expected to be appointed by Newsom as the next secretary of state.