California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla will become that state’s next senator, filling the term being vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Governor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. 

Padilla will become the first Latino to represent California in the Senate and the first southern Californian in nearly three decades, according to a statement by Newsom.

“The son of Mexican immigrants — a cook and house cleaner — Alex 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 as California’s Secretary of State.

“Now, he will serve in the halls of our nation’s Capitol as California’s next United States Senator, the first Latino to hold this office,” said Newsom.

Padilla said he is “honored and humbled by the trust placed in me by Governor Newsom,” and vowed to honor that trust.

“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,” said Padilla.

Harris will take office on Jan. 20.

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