It’s Official: Alex Padilla to be California’s First Latino Senator

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Finally, the time has come for fair representation.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that he will appoint Secretary of State Alex Padilla to replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the Senate.

Newsom’s decision will make Padilla the first Latino senator from the country’s most populous state and the one with the largest Latino population.

“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,” Newsom wrote on Twitter, tagging Padilla and sharing a video of Padilla agreeing to take the position.

“I will make you proud and California proud by getting it done in the U.S. Senate. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and I’m ready,” Padilla said in the video chat with Newsom.

In a statement announcing his selection, Newsom noted that Padilla is the son of immigrant parents who worked as a cook and a 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. Now, he will serve in the halls of our nation’s Capitol as California’s next United States Senator, the first Latino to hold this office,” 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. He will be a Senator for all Californians.”

Padilla has been secretary of state since 2015, the first Latino to hold the position, and is an old friend of Newsom’s.

“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. We will get through this pandemic together and rebuild our economy in a way that doesn’t leave working families behind,” Padilla said in a statement.