Alex Padilla Sworn In by Predecessor Kamala Harris as California’s First Mexican American & Hispanic U.S. Senator

Alex Padilla is officially representing the Great State of California

Democrats took control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2015, as Vice President Kamala Harris swore in the 47-year-old Mexican American politician as her appointed successor, as well as Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who won their races against Republican incumbents in Georgia his month.

Alex Padilla

On December 22, 2020, California governor Gavin Newsom appointed Padilla to succeed Harris in the Senate, after Harris was elected as vice president. He’s the first Mexican American and Hispanic senator from California, the first senator from Southern California since 1992, and the first male senator to represent the state since 1993.

“I need to catch my breath, so much is happening,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who now is the new majority leader.

Alex Padilla

The Senate split is 50-50 now, but Democrats will have the edge because Harris has a tie-breaking vote. That might be needed, as Joe Biden tries to usher through a series of legislative priorities, including a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package and immigration reform.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will be the president pro tem of the Senate, which is third in line for the presidency following the vice president and Speaker of the House.

With Democratic control of Congress and the White House, there is some expectation that legislation will face legal challenges, as Donald Trump was able to appoint more than 200 judges to the federal bench, including three Supreme Court seats.

Edward James Olmos to Take Part in Biden Inaugural Committee’s “Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise” Event

Edward James Olmos is preparing to celebrate the resilience and promise of the Latino community in the United States…

President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee has announced a Tuesday night event, featuring the 73-year-old Mexican American actor, director, producer, and activist, that shines a spotlight on the Latino community.

Edward James Olmos

Entitled Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise, the event will be hosted by Eva Longoria.

It will feature appearances by Olmos, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Leguizamo, Rita Moreno, Ivy Queen and Becky G.

There also will be performances from Gilberto Santa Rosa and Gaby Moreno, featuring David Garza, Emilio Estefan and All-Star Tejanos UnitedStefani Montiel, Jose Posada, Shelly Lares, DJ Kane and Mariachi Nuevo Santander from Roma High School.

Emilio Estefan produced a performance of One World, One Prayer by the Wailers, featuring Skip Marley, Farruko, Shaggy and Cedella Marley.

The event will take palace on Tuesday, January 19 at 9:30 pm ET

 

It’s part of a series of events that will highlight the nation’s diversity, including the AAPI Inaugural Ball: Breaking Barriers, celebrating the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities; and We Are One, celebrating Black Americans.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Swear in U.S. Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris

Sonia Sotomayor will make a special appearance at this week’s inauguration…

The 66-year-old Puerto Rican Supreme Court Justice will swear in U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Wednesday, January 20, a ceremony in which the first woman of color to become vice president will take her oath of office from the first woman of color to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sonia Sotomayor

Harris chose Sotomayor for the task, according to a Harris aide who was confirming a report by ABC News. The vice president-elect and Justice Sotomayor have a shared background as former prosecutors. And Harris has called the justice a figure of national inspiration.

“Judge Sonia Sotomayor has fought for the voices of the people ever since her first case voting against corporations in Citizens United,” Ms. Harris wrote on Twitter in 2019. “As a critical voice on the bench, she’s showing all our children what’s possible.”

Justice Sotomayor, who was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2009, swore in Joseph R. Biden Jr. for his second term as vice president in January 2013 (first in a private ceremony and again in public the next day because of a quirk of the calendar).

Sotomayor was born in The Bronx, New York City, to Puerto Rican-born parents. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1976 and received her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1979, where she was an editor at the Yale Law Journal. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York for four and a half years before entering private practice in 1984. She played an active role on the boards of directors for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the State of New York Mortgage Agency, and the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush in 1991; confirmation followed in 1992. In 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Her nomination was slowed by the Republican majority in the U.St Senate, but she was eventually confirmed in 1998. On the Second Circuit, Sotomayor heard appeals in more than 3,000 cases and wrote about 380 opinions. Sotomayor has taught at the New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School.

Eva Longoria to Take Part in Presidential & Vice Presidential Inauguration Special “Celebrating America”

Eva Longoria is celebrating America in a special way…

The 45-year-old Mexican American actress and producer will introduce segments during the two-hour Joe Biden and Kamala Harris inauguration special that starts at 8:30 pm ET on January 20th.

Eva Longoria

While Tom Hanks will serve as the official host the program, Longoria and Kerry Washington will reprise their duties from last summer’s semi-virtual Democratic National Convention, which had the same producers.

The Celebrating America television special will air on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and more next week.

Biden and Harris are scheduled to give remarks of their own during Celebrating America.

The finale for the five-day America United themed event in a deeply and violently divided nation, Celebrating America has already made public that Justin Timberlake will be busting a move or two onstage. Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons and that other Garden State superstar Jon Bon Jovi will be performing also.

More acts and big names are expected to be revealed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee in the next few days.

Along with the TV networks, Celebrating America will be seen on Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW from Fox, and AT&T DIRECTV and U-verse as well as the PIC’s social media feeds.

Cristela Alonzo to Take Part in “America’s Changemakers” Event to Kick Off Five Nights of Presidential Inauguration Festivities

Cristela Alonzo is preparing for a presidential presentation…

The Biden/Harris Presidential Inaugural Committee announced additional programming in advance of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on January 20, with the 42-year-old Mexican American comedian/actress taking part in the festivities.

Cristela Alonzo

The theme of the now five consecutive nights of events is “America United.”

On Saturday, January 16, Alonzo will take part in America United: An Inauguration Welcome Event Celebrating America’s Changemakers.

The event will “celebrate America, reflect and honor our history, and highlight the incredible diversity of the nation” and kick off the five days of programming.

In addition to Alonzo, the roster of participants includes Whoopi Goldberg, actor Nik Dodani, musician Darren Criss, Representative Grace Meng, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Resistance Revival Choir will participate. The Welcome Event will feature a special performance by Adrian Quesada and his Grammy-nominated Black Pumas. It’ll stream live from 7:00-8:30 pm ET at bideninaugural.org and on Presidential Inaugural Committee social media pages.

Also announced is United We Serve: A Celebration of the National MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 18. According to the news release, thousands of volunteers across the country will participate in the National Day of Service, which will then be celebrated by entertainers and inspiring speakers like Aloe Blacc, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, Martin Luther King III, Chesca, Rep. Sharice Davids, Rosario Dawson, Andra Day, Yo-Yo Ma, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sean Patrick Thomas, Diane Warren, Lynn Whitfield and Bebe Winans. The event will stream live from 8:00-9:00 pm ET at bideninaugural.org and on the inaugural committee’s social media pages.

Other events include the Memorial and Nationwide Tribute to Remember and Honor the Lives Lost to Covid-19 on Tuesday the 19th. At 5:30 pm ET, a D.C. ceremony will feature a lighting around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. The inaugural committee has invited cities and towns around the country to join in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells.

Inauguration Day events include President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery with former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and the former First Ladies in attendance.

Tom Hanks will host the primetime Celebrating America special that will culminate the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Along with appearances from the 46th POTUS and 49th VPOTUS, the Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss-produced 90-minute show will feature “The Star-Spangled Banner” courtesy of Lady Gaga; a “musical performance” by Jennifer Lopez, the details of which were not disclosed; and performances from Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons and longtime Democrat supporter Jon Bon Jovi.

Celebrating America will air on multiple networks. Starting at 8:30 pm ET, the unity-aiming special will be carried by ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN. Additionally, the Weiss-directed show will be seen on Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW from Fox, and AT&T DIRECTV and U-verse, as well as the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s social media feeds.

President-Elect Joe Biden Nominates Isabel Guzman to Lead Small Business Administration

Isabel Guzman is joining the Biden administration…

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped the Latina small business advocate to lead the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Isabel Guzman

Guzman is the director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, a post she has held since April 2019.

Previously, Guzman worked at the SBA under former President Barack Obama as deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to the administrator.

Small businesses have been hit particularly hard due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the SBA under President Donald Trump was in charge of accepting applications for loans through the popular Paycheck Protection Program.

Guzman, if confirmed, would oversee any extensions to the loan program, which was intended to provide small businesses with forgivable loans to keep their businesses afloat and keep employees on their payrolls.

The program just received a $284 billion injection from the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill passed in December.

Guzman’s nomination is a win for the Latina community who has called for more representation in Biden’s Cabinet. Following his election victory in November, the former vice president promised to create a “Cabinet that looks like America.”

Small Business for America’s Future, a coalition of small business owners, congratulated Guzman for the nomination.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez Celebrates Passage of Legislation to Establish National Museum of the American Latino

Bob Menendez is celebrating a big win for Latino history in the United States.

Congress has passed a massive legislation package that green-lights the establishment of a long-awaited Smithsonian museum dedicated to American Latinos.

Bob Menendez

The 66-year-old Cuban American politician, currently serving as the U.S. Senator from New Jersey, was the lead sponsor of the U.S. Senate bill.

Menendez, a longtime advocate for a Latino museum said that the museum’s passage is the “culmination of decades of hard work, advocacy, successes and setbacks in the movement to recognize Latino contributions to America’s history, economy and culture.”

Though the museum could take years to conceptualize, curate and build, U.S. Congress‘ approval is a victory for the museum’s advocates whose efforts date back decades.

The American Latino museum will “illuminate the story of the United States for the benefit of all by featuring Latino contributions,” decades after the Smithsonian issued a report finding that it displayed a pattern of “willful neglect,” excluding and ignoring the presence and contributions of Latino Americans in both its workforce and exhibition halls.

“With this vote, Latinos and Latinas across our nation will finally have their stories, struggles, and impact on our country validated by the United States Congress,” Menendez said in a statement.

Menendez said he “cannot wait until the day when I can take my granddaughters to visit the National Museum of the American Latino in our nation’s capital.”

Half of the museum’s funding will be provided by federal funds and the other half from private donations. The museum has two years to designate a site.

In 2011, a 23-member presidential commission estimated that a “Smithsonian American Latino Museum” would cost $600 million divided between private donations and congressional appropriations.

The Democratic-led US House had approved the bill to establish a Latino museum in July by voice vote.

In the US Senate, however, passage of the bill by unanimous consent was blocked by Utah Senator Mike Lee, who argued that the country doesn’t need “separate but equal museums.”

The Smithsonian Institution “should not have an exclusive museum of American Latino history or a museum of women’s history or museum of American men’s history or Mormon history or Asian American history or Catholic history. American history is an inclusive story that should unite us,” Lee said in remarks made earlier this month.

Gina Torres & Her “Suits” Co-Stars to Reunite for “Suit Up For Georgia: A Game Night”

It’s game on for Gina Torres

The original cast of USA Network’s hit series Suits, including the 51-year-old Cuban American actress, along with fan-favorite recurring players and creator Aaron Korsh, will headline Suit Up For Georgia: A Game Night reunion.

Gina Torres

Hosted by Suits star Patrick J. Adams and his wife, Pretty Little Liars actress Troian Bellisario, the Democratic Party of Georgia event will be held on Sunday, December 27 at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT.

Adams and Bellisario will be joined by Suits regular/recurring cast members Torres, Rick Hoffman, Gabriel Macht, Sarah Rafferty, Rachael Harris, Amy Acker, DB Woodside, Denise Crosby, Amanda Schull, Max Topplin, David Costabile and Ray ProsciaSuits creator and executive producer Korsh, and special guests.

They are not expected to include original co-star Meghan Markle who, as a member of the British Royal family, has refrained from taking sides in an U.S. election.

“There is no better reason to revisit the world of Suits than to help turn out the vote for the Senate runoff election in Georgia,” said Adams. “I’m looking forward to bringing Mike Ross back to life for a fun night with Troian and my Suits friends, new and old, in support of such a crucial effort.”

To watch the reunion, fans can make a donation of any amount at SuitUpforGeorgia.com, with all proceeds and efforts going towards getting out the vote for Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock and flipping the U.S. Senate. They will include Adrienne White, Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

“As a longtime fan of the show, I’m thrilled to have so many members of the Suits cast join us here in Georgia to host a virtual game night,” said White. “With New Years’ and January 5 just around the corner, Georgia Democrats are determined to go into 2021 with momentum in these runoff elections. The grassroots donations and volunteer sign-ups from this event will give us the boost we need, and I’m so thankful to the cast of Suits for their support.”

President-Elect Joe Biden Nominates Miguel Cardona to Serve as U.S. Secretary of Education

Miguel Cardona could soon be helping the nation’s children get back into the classroom…

President-elect Joe Biden has nominated the Puerto Rican educator and politician to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education in his cabinet, calling the Puerto Rican politician, Connecticut’s education commissioner, “brilliant” and saying he’ll play a key role in his administration’s efforts to reopen schools forced online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Miguel Cardona

Cardona, whose parents moved from Puerto Rico to Connecticut, would be another high-profile Latino in the Cabinet if confirmed by the US Senate.

Biden said Cardona “understands that the deep roots of inequity that exist as a source of our persistent opportunities gaps. He understands the transformative power that comes from investing in education.”

Cardona said that as an education commissioner, a public school parent and a former public school classroom teacher, he understands how challenging this year has been for students, educators and parents.

“It’s taken some of our most painful, longstanding disparities and wrenched them open even wider,” Cardona said, speaking publicly for the first time as Biden’s nominee. He said that “for too many students, your zip code and your skin color remain the best predictor of the opportunities you’ll have in your lifetime.”

He added, “Though we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we also know that this crisis is ongoing, that we will carry its impacts for years to come and that the problems and inequities that have plagued our educational system since long before Covid will still be with us even after the virus is gone.”

Biden on Wednesday reiterated that reopening schools safely would be a national priority for his administration and spoke of the challenges that students, educators and administrators have faced amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“They worry. They’re under stress. They stretch local budgets that have left educators out of work,” Biden said.

Cardona was appointed Connecticut’s commissioner of education by Democratic Governor Ned Lamont in August 2019. He came to the role with two decades of experience as a public school educator from the city of Meriden, according to the state’s government website, after beginning his career as an elementary school teacher and later serving for 10 years as a school principal.

In 2013, Cardona became the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus had urged the President-elect to select him.

Alex Padilla to Become First Latino to Represent California in U.S. Senate

Alex Padilla is the next senator from the great state of California…

Gov. Gavin Newsom is appointing the 47-year-old Mexican American politician, the state’s current Secretary of State, to fill Kamala HarrisU.S. Senate seat.

Alex Padilla

Padilla will be the first Latino senator to represent the Golden State.

“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,” Newsom said in a statement. “He will be a senator for all Californians.”

Newsom posted a video, taken on Monday evening, in which he asked Padilla whether he wanted to take the post.

“You serious?” Padilla says in the video.

“This is the official, this is the ask, brother,” Newsom says.

Near tears, Padilla says, “I’m honored, man, and I am humbled.”

Padilla will face an election in 2022.

Padilla was atop the list of possible successors to Harris even before she was elected to the vice presidency. He’s a former Los Angeles city councilman and state senator, and was first elected secretary of state in 2014. He was re-elected in 2018.

He also has longtime ties to Newsom, having been chair of his first gubernatorial campaign in 2009.

“Whether you voted for (Joe) Biden or (Donald) Trump…  whether you live in the North State or the Southland…  whether you grew up speaking English, Spanish, Korean or Cantonese…  we are all Californians,” he wrote. “And I intend to be a Senator for all the people.”

Padilla emphasized his roots in the San Fernando Valley. The son of Mexican immigrants, he grew up in a three-bedroom house in Pacoima. “It wasn’t the safest neighborhood, but we had a backyard,” Padilla wrote.

Harris, the first California Democrat on a presidential ticket, hasn’t said whether she will resign her Senate seat before the President-elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20.