Who is Alex Padilla? Meet Kamala Harris’s Replacement

Kamala Harris is Joe Biden’s pick for Vice President of the United States.  This is hardly news at all considering how long they have been together as a duo.  What is news, however, is California Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to name Ms. Harris’s replacement, Alex Padilla.

Gov. Newsom asked Mr. Padilla on Monday if he wanted the position.  By accepting, it will make Padilla the first Latino senator from California.  While it is now Mr. Padilla’s position, he will be finishing out the final two years of a term that belongs to Ms. Harris (Hubler).

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Of Mr. Padilla, Gov. Newsom said, “Through his tenacity, integrity, smarts and grit, California is gaining a tested fighter in their corner” (Hubler).

Mr. Padilla is a first-generation American with his parents emigrating from Mexico.  He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He got into politics in 1999 on the Los Angeles City Council.  He was in the California State Senate from 2006-2014 (Ca.Gov).

Mr. Padilla’s work ranges from restaurants to prisons.  In terms of his work in the prison field, he “wrote the law that criminalized the transfer, sale, or possession of illicit cell phones in prison.  He also authored the law that prohibits violent felons from possessing, buying, or transferring body armor such as bulletproof vests” (Ca.Gov).  In terms of restaurants, he made the first law in the country to require fast food chains to include calorie information on menus.  This idea has since become a national policy.  He also wrote a smoke free housing law for California (Ca.Gov).

Mr. Padilla has also found ways to combine his engineering life with his political life.  He has created laws to try to make the use of driverless vehicles safer.  He also created a bill to get a statewide earthquake early warning system in California (Ca.Gov).

“About Alex Padilla.” About Alex Padilla :: California Secretary of State, http://www.sos.ca.gov/administration/about-alex-padilla.

Hubler, Shawn. “Alex Padilla Will Replace Kamala Harris in the Senate.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 Dec. 2020, http://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/22/us/politics/alex-padilla-kamala-california-senate.html. 

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