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 Harris’ U.S. Senate seat.
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.