Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Sen. Kamala Harris following her election as U.S. vice president.
“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, according to The New York Times. “From those struggling to make ends meet to the small businesses fighting to keep their doors open to the health care workers looking for relief, please know that I am going to the Senate to fight for you.”
I am humbled and honored to serve as California’s next United States Senator. Thank you, @GavinNewsom, for entrusting me with the role of defending the dream for the people of California. https://t.co/bCwf05C3hm pic.twitter.com/Fn5iNl6ldS
— Alex Padilla (@AlexPadilla4CA) December 22, 2020
Padilla, 47, has remained a close ally to the governor throughout Newsom’s political tenure. He won his first office in the Los Angeles City Council in 1999 at the age of 26. Padilla has worked in government office ever since.
“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 of his Senate pick, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Padilla grew up the son of Mexican-born immigrants in southern California and will be the first Latino senator from California, according to the Times.
As the Padilla appointment is a pick-up for Latinos in the Senate among Democrats hoping to score points with identity politics, the November election marked a significant shift in the voting trends of this once-core blue part of the electorate.
According to data from The New York Times published Sunday, immigrant neighborhoods with large populations of Asians and Latinos shifted towards President Donald Trump in November, while dominantly white neighborhoods shifted towards Democrats.