Today, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Secretary of State Alex Padilla will succeed Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as senator.
Not only will Padilla be the first Southern Californian in the Senate in nearly three decades, but he will be the first Latino.
“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,” Newsom said. “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.”
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.
I can think of no one better to represent the state of California as our next United States Senator. pic.twitter.com/xiAzpTS42Y
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) December 22, 2020
Padilla notably expanded voting access during this past election— essential in maintaining our democracy in the midst of a pandemic. He oversaw the upgrading of voting systems across the state, implemented innovations like same-day registration and registered over 22 million voters. As a state senator, Padilla authored 70 bills signed into law by both Republican and Democratic governors, which included creating a statewide earthquake warning system and increasing renewable energy standards.
The conditions of his San Fernando Valley neighborhood ignited his interest in political activism. As a teen, he would organize neighbors and join protests. After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he put aside a career in engineering to devote his life to public service. Even now, Padilla lives in his valley hometown, raising three sons with his wife Angela.
“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,” Padilla said. “We will get through this pandemic together and rebuild our economy in a way that doesn’t leave working families behind.”
I’m going to the Senate to protect healthcare, make sure every Californian has access to a vaccine, to get our economy back on track and our people back to work. I know we are going to lead a California comeback that doesn’t leave working families behind.
— Alex Padilla (@AlexPadilla4CA) December 22, 2020