Alex Padilla becomes California’s first Latino Senator!

🚨#BREAKING Alex Padilla becomes California’s first Latino to represent our state in the United States Senate. ¡Vamos Senador!

“We’re long overdue for comprehensive immigration reform, which should include a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million plus undocumented in the country. No state has more at stake in getting immigration reform done than the state of California,” Padilla said.

 

Day 1: New Sen. Alex Padilla wants Trump’s ‘enablers’ out of U.S. Senate

Today’s presidential inauguration of Joe Biden sets off a spate of historic firsts that are reshaping Democratic politics in California. Kamala Harris, California’s former senator, was sworn in as the first female vice president.

Hours later, she administered the oath of office to her replacement, Alex Padilla, the outgoing secretary of state who will become the first Latino to represent California in the United States Senate.

The changing of the guard comes as the nation is reeling from a deadly pandemic and the aftermath of the second impeachment of outgoing President Donald Trump. It’s a lot for a new senator to step into.

 

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Along with newly-elected Georgia Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Padilla, 47, was sworn in by the woman he replaced, Vice President Kamala Harris, who was the second Black woman and first South Asian to serve in the Senate, hours after she was sworn in.

The three Democrats bring their party the slimmest of majorities, a 50-50 Senate with Harris as tiebreaker.

“It’s meant to be. I’ve been telling folks I have big Chuck Taylors to fill,” he said, giving a nod to Harris’ favorite footwear.

He was joined in the chamber by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Los Angeles), both of whom he worked for as a young man.

 

 

About Alex Padilla:

His first job in government was as an aide to Senator Dianne Feinstein. He’s learned a lot from her, now that he is beginning his own position as a senator.

 

Padilla, a Pacoima Democrat and MIT grad who once developed software for satellites but later rose through local and state political office to become California secretary of State, was tapped in late December to complete Harris’ term, which ends in 2022.

Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara), who has known Padilla since they were both starting out as young staffers to California politicians, said it is extraordinary to see his friend become the first Latino to represent his home state.

“He brings that unique perspective and experience of the Latino community to the United States Senate,” Carbajal said. “He’s going to be great. He is smart and compassionate and a people person. He’s somebody who’s going to build relationships and be a statesman.”

 

Padilla said election security, immigration, criminal justice reform and climate change will be his top priorities in the Senate.

“We’re long overdue for comprehensive immigration reform, which should include a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million plus undocumented in the country. No state has more at stake in getting immigration reform done than the state of California,” Padilla said.

But first his attention is on “COVID, COVID, COVID,” and addressing its disproportionate impact the health and economy in communities of color.

“This is very real, very personal to me,” he said.

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