CA Senate: Alex Padilla (D)
Alex Padilla, California’s then-secretary of state, was appointed to fill the Senate seat held by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in late December 2020.
Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s selection of Padilla, a longtime friend and political ally, ended months of jockeying for the appointment among Democratic factions across the state.
It also made Padilla the first Latino senator from California, where Latinos are about 40% of the population.
In an emblematic passing of the torch, Harris herself swore Padilla into his new position on the afternoon of Jan. 20, Inauguration Day.
Because he was appointed merely to fill out what remained of Harris’ term, he will have to run for a full term in 2022.
Padilla, 47, is the son of Mexican-born immigrants who settled in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley when he was still a child. His father was a short-order cook and his mother a housekeeper, but their middle son was determined to make a better life for himself and for them.
After graduating from high school in Los Angeles, he applied to and was accepted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, money for college was tight, and to make ends meet, he was to work his way through school with a series of janitorial jobs and work-study programs.
His dream upon graduating in 1994 was to be an aerospace engineer. Unfortunately for Padilla, a wave of anti-immigrant fervor was then just reaching its peak.
Unable to find full time work in the profession for which he trained, Padilla took a part-time summer job helping Latino high school students prepare for college.
He also got involved in opposing Proposition 187, a 1994 ballot initiative that would have barred undocumented immigrants from public services including schools and nonemergency health care.
With that, the young man who readily admitted he’d never dreamed of being involved in politics, suddenly found himself working as a community organizer. That led to Padillo’s running two legislative campaigns for Latino candidates in Los Angeles and to his securing a job as a staff in Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s field office.
In 1999, Padilla ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council and won, at the age of 26. By 2001, he was the council’s youngest president.
He then went on to serve two terms in the state Senate and two years as secretary of state.
It was in 2003 that Padilla met Newsom, who was then running for mayor of San Francisco. The two hit it off, and Padilla happily introduced his to influential people in the Latino committee. Later, Padillo would run Newsom’s first campaign for governor, a campaign that ended when former Gov. Jerry Brown entered the race.
In 2018, Padilla stood by Newson again, endorsing him early in a crowded field. This time Newsom and Padilla won, the former becoming governor, while the latter because secretary of states.
Padilla promised to register a million new California voters; the state has added more than four million as a result of legislation he backed that registers Californians to vote when they get their driver’s license.
As a state legislator, Padilla also supported universal health care, reproductive choice, expanding green manufacturing and solar power, and laws that tracked stolen guns and prevented felons from possessing body armor.
When Newsom told him Padilla he was the choice to replace Harris, Padilla described himself as “honored and humbled.”
He also vowed “to work each and every day” to honor that trust bestowed on him and to “deliver for California.”
A father of three, Padilla and his wife, Angela, live in the San Fernando Valley.
In The News
In The News
WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission announced on Wednesday it is set to approve a total of $554,150,641 for the... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission announced on Wednesday it is set to approve a total of $554,150,641 for the third round of funding in deployments of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. The FCC previously announced over $1 billion in funding to winning bidders for new... Read More
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was joined by Matt Rinaldi, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas,... Read More
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was joined by Matt Rinaldi, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, on Wednesday in calling for yet another special legislative session to pass more conservative agenda items. The calls for a new special session come after Texas’... Read More
WASHINGTON - With Congressional Democrats reportedly within days of an agreement on a slimmed down reconciliation spending package, a well... Read More
WASHINGTON - With Congressional Democrats reportedly within days of an agreement on a slimmed down reconciliation spending package, a well known independent budget hawk is urging them not to resort to “blatant budget gimmicks” to move the initiative toward passage. Specifically, Maya MacGuineas, president of the... Read More
WASHINGTON – Less than 24 hours after Senate Republicans blocked debate on the Freedom to Vote Act, Majority Leader Chuck... Read More
WASHINGTON – Less than 24 hours after Senate Republicans blocked debate on the Freedom to Vote Act, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he’ll advance another voting rights bill to the floor of the chamber as early as next week. However, he did not say whether... Read More
The number of people working in the renewable energy sector worldwide reached 12 million last year, up from 11.3 million... Read More
The number of people working in the renewable energy sector worldwide reached 12 million last year, up from 11.3 million in 2019, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. The eighth edition of “Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2021,” was written... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to a new low point since... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to a new low point since the pandemic erupted, evidence that layoffs are declining as companies hold onto workers. Unemployment claims dropped 6,000 to 290,000 last week, the third straight drop, the... Read More