Culture

For the First Time in Its History, California Is Sending a Latino to the Senate

Lead Photo: In this screenshot from the DNCC’s livestream of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla addresses the virtual convention on August 20, 2020. Photo by DNCC via Getty Images
In this screenshot from the DNCC’s livestream of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla addresses the virtual convention on August 20, 2020. Photo by DNCC via Getty Images
Read more

In a historical move, California Governor Gavin Newsom has selected Mexican-American Alex Padilla, California’s Secretary of State, to take over Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris’ Senate seat in DC. This will be the first time ever, in California’s history, that a Latino has been tapped to represent the state. He will hold the seat until 2022.

“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,” Newsom said in a statement.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Latino Victory Fund were among the groups advocating for Newsom to select Padilla. Padilla, the son of Mexican immigrants, has been on the state’s political scene for over 20 years. He was first elected to serve on the Los Angeles City Council in 1999, at age 26. In the past five years, he has served as the top elections official in the country’s most populated state and was instrumental in California’s vote by mail rollout that sent every eligible voter a ballot by mail.

“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,” Padilla said in a statement.