Former Los Angeles city councilman Alex Padilla was sworn in as the state’s newest US senator on Wednesday, becoming the first Latino to represent California in the Senate.
Padilla resigned as California secretary of state on Monday and was formally appointed by the governor to fill the seat in the United States Senate vacated by now-Vice President Kamala Harris.
Harris and President Joe Biden took office Wednesday morning, and Padilla took up his new role Wednesday afternoon.
“As I prepare to enter the United States Senate, I will continue my mission to build a more inclusive democracy and economy for all,” Padilla said Monday.
California Secretary of State will replace Kamala Harris after her election as Vice President of the country
Padilla, 47, had served as secretary of state since 2015. Prior to that, he served in the state Senate representing Southern California’s 20th District.
He spent more than seven years on the Los Angeles City Council representing the Seventh District in the northeast San Fernando Valley. He was president of the council for five years, the youngest and the first Latino to hold that position.
A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Padilla worked for Hughes Aircraft before turning to politics.
Padilla grew up in the Pacoima area and continues to live with his wife and three children in the San Fernando Valley.
Newsom nominated Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a Democrat from San Diego, to take over as secretary of state. If confirmed by the Legislature, Weber will become the first black woman to hold that position. Weber has been in the Assembly since 2012 and chairs the California Black Legislative Caucus.
Padilla’s undersecretary of state, James Schwab, will occupy the post pending confirmation from Weber.