Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced he has chosen California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.
“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 in a release about his selection. “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."
Padilla, a former Los Angeles City Council member and state senator for Southern California's 20th District, will be the state's first Latino senator and the first from Southern California since John Seymour was chosen to fill in for Pete Wilson back in 1991. He has worked as California's top election official as Secretary of State since 2015. During that time, he oversaw an overhaul to California's voting systems as well as the implementation of the Voter's Choice Act in 2016.
He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and once worked for Hughes Aircraft before turning to politics. Padilla was raised in the Pacoima area and continues to live with his wife and three sons in the San Fernando Valley.
“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.
Padilla will hold the Senate seat through 2022 at which time he will have to run for reelection.
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