SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday named U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra as state attorney general, succeeding Kamala Harris who was elected to the U.S. Senate last month.
The Democratic governor noted Becerra's service in Congress, in the state Legislature and as a deputy attorney general. The nomination is subject to confirmation by the state Assembly and Senate. It will be officially submitted after Harris resigns.
"I'm confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change," the Democratic governor said in a statement.
Becerra's replacement in his solidly Democratic district in Los Angeles would be picked via special election.
As attorney general, Becerra will be the state's chief law enforcement officer and will oversee the legal defenses of California's aggressive efforts to control greenhouse gases. He'll also preside over likely skirmishes between the state's liberal lawmakers and the administration of Republican President-elect Donald Trump.
"Governor Brown and our state leaders lean forward when it comes to advancing and protecting the rights and interests of the more than 38 million people in California," Becerra said in a statement. "I'm deeply honored by Governor Brown's confidence in me to serve as our state's next chief law enforcement officer."
He served as a high-profile Latino surrogate for Democrat Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign this year and was frequently cited as potential cabinet nominee in a Clinton White House. With the election of Trump and a Republican sweep of both houses of Congress, however, his 24-year tenure in the House is no longer as appealing.
Becerra, a Sacramento native, has served in the House since 1992. He's a graduate of Stanford Law School.