SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced the selection of California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to be California’s next U.S. Senator, filling the term being vacated by Sen. Kamala Harris.
Mr. Padilla, who formerly served as a Los Angeles City Councilman and state senator, will become the first Latino to represent California in the U.S. Senate and the first Southern Californian in nearly three decades, according to a release from Gov. Newsom’s office.
“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,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “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.”
Mr. Padilla was sworn in as the state’s first latino Secretary of State on Jan. 5, 2015. He was re-elected to the position in 2018. He was elected to the State Senate to represent the San Fernando Valley in 2006. During his time as senator, he authored more than 70 bills signed into law.
“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,” Mr. Padilla said in a statement. “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.”
Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, issued a media statement that included a video that he recorded at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport. He described Mr. Padilla as someone with distinguished service who will represent the values of local working men and women in Washington.
“I am just thrilled for our state that we’re going to have such a great United States Senator serving us in the upcoming year and years to come,” Rep. Carbajal said in the video. “Congratulations Alex.”
In a statement to the press, the congressman said he and Mr. Padilla have been friends since they were both young staff members.
“As the son of Mexican immigrants, Alex embodies the American Dream,” the statement read. “His story is a familiar one for many Latinos like me, and I know he will be a fierce advocate for working families and equal opportunity in the Senate. I’m excited for my friend, for our state, and for our country.”
— Mitchell White