California Gov. appointed the senator seat vacated by Kamala Harris

Secretary of State Alex Padilla was appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, as the state’s next U.S. senator to fill the seat being vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Harris was first elected in 2016, so Padilla will fill the seat by appointment until 2022 when an election will be held for the next full six-year term.

Newsom, who had been under intense pressure within California to choose a Black woman to replace Harris because of the lack of diversity in the US Senate, tweeted that Padilla’s appointment would make history but added that Padilla “is far more interested in changing history — especially for the working men and women of our state and country.”

Padilla thanked Newsom for the appointment in the release and added, “From those struggling to make ends meet to the small businesses fighting to keep their doors open to the health care workers looking for relief, please know that I am going to the Senate to fight for you. We will get through this pandemic together and rebuild our economy in a way that doesn’t leave working families behind.”

Photo by Dan Watson, contributing photographer

Padilla will be the first Mexican American and Hispanic Senator from California and the first male senator to represent the state since 1993. The son of a cook and house cleaner who immigrated from Mexico, “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,” Mr. Padilla said in a statement.

Padilla attended local public schools and went on to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He recently completed a five-year term as a member of the MIT Corporation (Board of Trustees).  Padilla is often asked how he moved from engineering to public service. He explains that in many ways they are similar; the goal of each is solving problems.

On behalf of CIMA Law group, we congratulate Padilla for the appointment.

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