California Secretary of State Alex Padilla will fill a U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris, Governor Gavin Newsom’s office said on Tuesday.
The 47-year old Democrat will be the first Latino to represent California in the Senate. He has a close relationship with Newsom and was seen as a front-runner for the post.
“The son of Mexican immigrants – 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,” New said in a statement announcing his decision.
“Now, he will serve in the halls of our nation’s Capitol as California’s next United States Senator,” the Californian governor added.
In a video message released by Newsom’s office, Padilla said he was “honored and humbled” by the appointment.
“Can you imagine what Mom would be thinking now as I ask you if you want to be the next U.S. Senator of the United States from the great state of California?” Newsom asked in the video message.
“Are you serious?” Padilla responded with emotions. “This the ask, man,” Newsom replied him.
Hispanic organizations had pushed for Padilla to represent the state with a larger Hispanic population than any other ethnic group, while a group. of prominent Black women lobbied Newsom to replace Harris, a woman of color, with another Black woman.
They had called for the replacement to be either Reps Barbara Lee (D) or Karen Bass (D).