Brown taps Becerra to replace Harris as California AG
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday nominated Rep. Xavier Becerra as the state’s new attorney general, the position outgoing prosecutor Kamala Harris will soon vacate as a result of her election to the U.S. Senate.
Mr. Becerra, a Democrat, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992 and currently serves as the House Democratic Caucus chairman.
Before his election to Congress, the 58-year-old represented the Los Angeles area in the California State Assembly. He also has some prior experience working in the state attorney general’s office, having worked as a deputy attorney general in the California Department of Justice from 1987 to 1990.
“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant — in the State Legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general,” Mr. Brown said Thursday in announcing the nomination. “I’m confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”
The attorney general position will be left open by the departure of Ms. Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last month. If Mr. Becerra is confirmed to the position by the California State Assembly and the Senate, he would maintain the top prosecutor’s post through 2018.
Mr. Becerra, the son of Mexican immigrants, would become California’s first Latino attorney general if approved. In a statement issued Thursday, he said he was proud to accept the nomination.
“Governor Brown has presented me with an opportunity I cannot refuse — to serve as attorney general of my home state,” he said. “As a former deputy attorney general, I relished the chance to be our state’s chief law enforcement officer to protect consumers, advance criminal justice reform and, of course, keep our families safe.”
Mr. Becerra’s nomination as California attorney general came as somewhat of a surprise. His name was not on any of the widely circulated lists for attorney general picks.
As late as this week, he was also actively pursuing new leadership positions in the House. Mr. Becerra has served in the House Democratic leadership since 2009, but was term-limited in his current post as chairman.
On Tuesday Politico reported that he was seeking the ranking member post on the House Committee on Ways and Means.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has asked Rep. Xavier Becerra to return from Washington and succeed Kamala Harris as state attorney general.