By Miriam Raftery
December 22, 2020 (Sacramento) – Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill California’s U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.
Padilla, who previously served as a Los Angeles City Councilman and State Senator, is a national leader in the fight to expand voting rights, will become the first Latino to represent California in the United States Senate and the first Southern Californian in nearly three decades.
“The son of Mexican immigrants — a cook and 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.” said Governor Newsom. “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.”
The action also gave Newsom the ability to fill the Secretary of State seat via appointment. Late today, he announced that Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), whose district includes much of East County, will be the new Secretary of State, the first black woman to hold the post. Newsom bypassed San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who earlier had announced plans to run for the position in 2022. Newsom will also be making an appointment to replace Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who was named by President-Elect Joe Biden to head up the federal Health and Human Services department, if the cabinet appointment is approved by the Senate.