California Gov. Gavin Newsom selected Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Tuesday as the state’s next U.S. senator, a historic pick that sends a Latino to the Senate for the first time in the state’s history.
While Padilla had been the favorite, a video released by Newsom’s office shows him getting emotional after Newsom offered him the job, reflecting on the hard work of his parents, who came to the United States from Mexico and worked as a cook and a housekeeper.
“It’s a hell of an important perspective to bring to Washington,” he told Newsom.
Padilla, 47, was appointed to fill out the remainder of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ term. She plans to step down from the seat in January ahead of Inauguration Day, on Jan. 20. Padilla will need to run for a full term in 2022. The appointment gives him an advantage but he’s still likely to face challengers; California’s top-two primary system allows two Democrats to face off in a general election.
“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.