California Secretary of State Alex Padilla was appointed to fill Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ seat in the U.S. Senate, making him the first Mexican-American Senator in history.
Gov. Newsom announced Padilla’s selection Tuesday – later posting a candid video call of himself asking Padilla to fill the Senate seat.
“Can you imagine what mom would be thinking now, as I ask you if you want to be the next senator of the United States, of the great state of California?” Newsom said in the video, referring to Padilla’s mother who died in 2018.
Padilla broke into tears, asking Newsom, “Are you serious?” before accepting the position and saying he would “make California proud by getting it done in the U.S. Senate.”
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. pic.twitter.com/xiAzpTS42Y
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) December 22, 2020
Padilla will serve the remaining two years of Vice President Harris’ term, beating out candidates such as Reps. Karen Bass, Barbara Lee and Katie Porter.
“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. “He will be a Senator for all Californians.”
In a press release, Newsom highlighted Padilla’s past efforts in passing legislation for climate change, gun safety and expanding college access to English language learners.
“I’m going to the Senate to get our economy back on track and our people back to work,” Padilla said in a written statement. “I’m going to the Senate so we can finally make real progress on our long-challenges… from climate change to immigration reform to common-sense gun safety.”
Before becoming California Secretary of State in 2015, Padilla served in the L.A. City Council and State Senate. Newsom will now be tasked with filling Padilla’s Secretary of State position.