Alex Padilla was named the successor to elected Vice President Kamala Harris in the US Senate on Tuesday, becoming the first Latino to represent California in the nation’s upper house.
Padilla, the son of Mexican immigrants who became California’s first Latin American foreign minister in 2015, was chosen by Governor Gavin Newsom to represent a state that is roughly 40 percent Spanish.
In a statement, Padilla promised to “work every day to honor this trust and deliver for all Californians”.
“We will weather this pandemic together and rebuild our economies so that working families are not left behind,” he added.
Padilla’s appointment as Junior Golden State Senator ends months of intense lobbying among the California Democrats for the coveted position Harris will vacate ahead of next month’s inauguration.
Padilla, who oversaw the massive email voting in California in the November general election, is a longtime ally of Newsom and has been seen as the front runner for the seat with strong support from Latino groups.
The son of a cook and housekeeper, 47-year-old Padilla, who grew up in a gang violence neighborhood of Los Angeles, briefly worked as an engineer and wrote software for satellites before entering politics at a time of intense anti-politics Immigrant rhetoric in California.
“Alex Padilla has worked his way through from humble beginnings,” Newsom said in a statement describing Padilla as a “warrior for the suffrage and the American dream.”
“Through its tenacity, integrity, intelligence, and strength, California wins a seasoned fighter in its corner who will be a fierce ally in (Washington) DC. He elevates the values of our state and ensures we secure the critical resources in order to be empowered.” to emerge from it. ” Pandemic, “he added.
The other seat of the US Senate in California has been occupied since 1992 by Dianne Feinstein, for whom Padilla once worked as a junior assistant.
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