Royal Oak Tribune

Newsom taps California election chief Padilla for Kamala Harris’ Senate seat

- By Kathleen Ronayne

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. » 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 Presidente­lect Kamala Harris .

he 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.

Padi l la wa s 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 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. The state now has 22 million voters.

He’ll hold the Senate seat through 2022, when he will have to run for a full term.

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