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Newsom taps California election chief Padilla for US Senate

FILE - California Secretary of State Alex Padilla talks during a news conference Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Californi...

FILE - California Secretary of State Alex Padilla talks during a news conference Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Californi...

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Tuesday as the state's next U.S. senator to fill the seat being vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The child of Mexican immigrants, Padilla will be California’s first Latino senator, giving a new level of representation to the demographic group that makes up nearly 40% of the state's population.

“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.

Padilla was widely expected to be Newsom's pick, as the two are longtime political allies. Newsom faced competing pressures to appoint a Latino to the seat and to appoint a Black woman, as Harris was the only Black woman in the chamber.

“I am honored and humbled by the trust placed in me by Governor Newsom, and I intend to work each and every day to honor that trust and deliver for all Californians,” Padilla said in a statement.

Padilla, 47, has been California’s top elections official since 2015. In that position, he’s overseen California’s vast elections apparatus, including the rollout of a more robust vote-by-mail system. In the November election, California mailed a ballot to every single registered voter. Prior to that, he oversaw the implementation of the Voter’s Choice Act, a 2016 law that allowed counties to mail all registered voters a ballot.

He’ll hold the Senate seat through 2022, when he will have to run for reelection. Harris hasn’t given a date for her resignation, but she will be inaugurated as vice president on Jan. 20.

He lives in Los Angeles.


Updated : 2021-01-27 22:49 GMT+08:00