WASHINGTON (Reuters) -California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday he will name Alex Padilla to the U.S. Senate to fill the remainder of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s term.
Padilla, the California secretary of state and the son of Mexican immigrants, will become the first Latino to represent California in the Senate. Harris is set to take office as vice president on Jan. 20.
There are two years remaining in Harris’ Senate term, meaning Padilla, a Democrat, would need to win election in November 2022 to remain in office for a full six-year-term.
Paperwork was filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission for a Padilla-for-Senate campaign committee.
Newsom noted the incoming senator’s parents were a cook and house cleaner and Padilla “worked his way from humble beginnings to the halls of MIT, the Los Angeles City Council and the state Senate, and has become a national defender of voting rights.”
In a video posted online of Newsom offering the job to Padilla on Monday evening, the incoming senator said he was “honored and humbled... I will you proud and make California proud by getting it done in the U.S. Senate. We’ve got a lot of work to do and I’m ready.”
Padilla in a statement vowed to fight for “those struggling to make ends meet to the small businesses fighting to keep their doors open to the healthcare workers looking for relief.”
In May under Padilla, California became the first state to commit to sending mail-in ballots to all registered voters for the 2020 election as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein praised Padilla’s choice saying he “brings a critically important voice to the Senate as the first Latino senator from California.”
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Steve Orlofsky
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