In this November 2, 2018 photo, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla speaks in San Francisco. California Governor Gavin Newsom named Secretary of State Alex Padilla as the next U.S. Senator to fill the vacant seat of Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
Eric Risberg | AP
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla will replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the US Senate, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday.
A son of Mexican immigrants, Padilla will be the first Latino senator for California, where Latinos make up nearly 40% of the state’s population.
“Through its tenacity, integrity, intelligence and strength, California has a seasoned fighter in its corner who will be a fierce ally in DC. He elevates the values of our state and ensures that we secure the critical resources to emerge from this pandemic He will be a senator to all Californians, “Newsom said in a statement.
Padilla, 47, has been California’s top electoral officer since 2015. He previously served on the California Senate and Los Angeles City Council.
“I am honored and humbled by the trust that Governor Newsom has placed in me, and I intend to work every day to honor and deliver that trust for all Californians,” Padilla said in a statement.
The governor-designate and senator-elect were long political allies, and Padilla’s appointment came as no surprise. Californian Senator Dianne Feinstein was among many prominent voices who campaigned for Padilla.
Many also advocated Newsom occupying the spot with a black woman. Harris was the second black woman and the first South Asian woman to serve in the Senate.
When Harris officially leaves the Senate, no black women will serve in the Chamber. Cory Booker, DN.J., and Tim Scott, RS.C., will then be the only black US Senators.
Padilla will end Harris’ term through 2022 if he stands for re-election if he chooses to run.