Xavier Becerra Will Make History as California’s First Latino Attorney General

Lead Photo: Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
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As Donald Trump stacks his cabinet with millionaires and billionaires, we brace ourselves for what the next four years will bring. For many – who have already seen Trump and his administration openly disparage immigrants, Muslims, women, and African Americans – his presidency doesn’t inspire hope. But as Bernie Sanders has repeatedly stated, change “happens from the bottom up.” Trump will serve in the highest office of the United States, but this makes local and state-level politics that much more important. This week, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Xavier Becerra as the next attorney general of California – a position that deals with jails, courts, and the enforcement of laws.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Becerra will become the state’s first Latino attorney general. He’ll succeed Indian-American Kamala Harris, a newly elected US Senator. “It’s a phenomenal opportunity,” Becerra said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It means I get to be home a lot more.”

Before serving 12 terms in Congress, Becerra worked in the attorney general’s office from 1987 to 1990. If the state Senate and Assembly confirm the Stanford Law School Graduate, he’ll also become the first governor-appointed AG since Thomas Lynch in 1964. And though his appoint may invite criticism – Becerra wasn’t on the list of picks – Brown has put his total faith in Becerra. “Xavier has been an outstanding public servant – in the State Legislature, the US Congress, and as a deputy attorney general,” Brown said in a statement. “I’m confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”

As California’s top lawyer and law enforcement official, Becerra’s policies can have wide-ranging effects. According to the AG’s site, the responsibilities include protecting the public from violent criminals, enforcing civil rights laws, preserving the state’s natural resources, and enforcing laws fairly and impartially.