Gov. Newsom’s selected successor to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is a tech-minded voting legal rights booster, a Latino who came of age for the duration of the nativist political upheaval of the 1990s and a longtime Newsom loyalist.
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Political junkies and capitol insiders, pat yourselves on the back again.
Ever since Joe Biden picked Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential operating mate in August, the parlor game of preference for California’s most politically plugged-in has been: Who will Gov. Gavin Newsom choose to fill her vacant Senate seat?
Alex Padilla — California’s Secretary of Condition, a faithful Newsom ally and a Latino in a state that has in no way had a member of that greatest ethnic group serve as senator — was a top rated pick. Certain more than enough, as Newsom announced Tuesday, the Democrat from Pacoima is on his way to Washington.
But for many Californians — perhaps the vast majority — Padilla’s nomination is likely to elicit a lot more curiosity than self-congratulation, a lot less “I knew it” and much more “who knew?”
If you are acquainting oneself with Padilla for the initially time, right here are a several takeaways from his California CV.
- California’s #1 turnout booster
Like surfing, Silicon Valley and unaffordable housing, California has built effortless access to the ballot box its calling card. Whilst many GOP-operate states have embraced voter ID necessities and have balked at the prospect of sending ballots by mail, we’ve gone in the opposite course.
Padilla can acquire credit history for a large amount of that.
Look at these current alterations to the state’s voting procedures:
- Suitable older people are mechanically registered to vote when they implement for a driver’s license — though California’s new motor voter application strike a few velocity bumps along the way
- 16- and 17-year-olds can pre-sign up to vote, guaranteeing that they are routinely included to the voter rolls when they switch 18
- If a registered voter’s formal signature doesn’t match the a person they place on their mail-in ballot envelope, counties are now expected to give them the option to try out once more
- Prior to the pandemic made it a statewide observe, more than a dozen counties despatched ballots to just about every energetic, registered voter — no matter if they signed up to vote by mail or not
- California’s 2020 major was bumped up from June to March, providing the state’s voters an earlier say in this year’s presidential contest
All of that is thanks to legislation sponsored by Padilla. And as head of the countrywide coalition of Democratic condition election administrators, he has also been one particular of the most distinguished evangelists for California’s election product on the national phase.
- Leaving powering an ethically dicey $35 million bill
With mammoth turnout envisioned in an election like no other, workers inside of the Secretary of State’s workplace used the summer season of 2020 scrambling to notify voters about the what, when, the place and how of voting.
That is why they inked a deal in September with the political consulting business, SKDKnickerbocker, to operate a statewide PR marketing campaign named Vote Risk-free California. The total tab: $35 million.
That deal received Padilla into incredibly hot drinking water with Republicans. SKDKnickerbocker has longstanding ties to the Democratic Get together and was a client of president-elect Joe Biden, then a applicant in the election the firm had been hired to encourage. GOP members of Congress launched an investigation and the conservative Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Affiliation took Padilla to courtroom.
As CalMatters described, the deal also did not go in excess of nicely with the state’s Democratic controller, Betty Yee, who is responsible for approving all point out government payments. In accordance to Yee’s staff members, Padilla’s office planned to attract the essential $35 million from a pot of hard cash that was supposed to fund county federal government voter outreach functions. In a letter Padlla wrote to Yee, he argued that the SKDKnickerbocker campaign was being done “on behalf of counties.”
But so far Yee has refused to budge. And it’s unclear who will ultimately be still left keeping the bag.
- Patron saint of tote baggage
Padilla hasn’t just improved the way Californians vote. As a condition Senator, he’s improved the way we shop much too.
In 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown signed what was arguably the most controversial invoice of Padilla’s 8-year legislative tenure, outlawing single-use plastic bags at grocery retailers.
The statewide ban was not enacted with out a fight. Padilla drew flack from fellow Los Angeles Democrats who worried the bill would damage a key plastic bag company south of downtown.
Conservative critics piled on, both of those in California and nationally, highlighting Padilla’s exertion as a evaluate par excellence of California nanny statism. The Pacoima senator created an easy goal for the libertarian critique. Prior legislative initiatives of his integrated a successful bill to drive chain dining establishments to list calorie counts on their menus and an unsuccessful 1 to ban the sale of tobacco goods around colleges.
Padilla brushed off the considerations about the bag ban in the course of a speech on the Senate floor in 2014.
When community governments have released plastic bag bans, he said, “the sky does not tumble and buyers adapt and life goes on.”
Even soon after the monthly bill was signed — two a long time after it was 1st released — it did not turn into law straight away. In 2016, plastic bag brands took to the ballot to override Padilla’s ban. But that marketing campaign failed. The fabric luggage you may store in your closet or in the trunk of your vehicle are testament to that and to Padilla’s operate.
- The very first senator of Technology 187
Like an full era of youthful Latinos, including former Senate leader Kevin De León, Padilla insists he had no intention of receiving concerned in politics till 1994.
That calendar year, Proposition 187 was on the ballot, a evaluate to exclude undocumented immigrants from all non-emergency community providers, including public training.
Padilla explained it was the bare nativism of that marketing campaign — and of Gov. Pete Wilson’s, who was running for re-election as a supporter of 187 — that drew him to Demoratic party activism. The son of Mexican immigrants who grew up in the San Fernando Valley, Padilla explained to CalMatters in 2018 that he felt that he “had to get associated so that households like mine, communities like mine, would not continue to be scapegoated or focused.”
Padilla was in early 20’s at the time. Fresh out of university with a significant ticket bachelor’s diploma, his moms and dads have been not immediately on board with his transform to politics. As he recalled it: “Wait a moment, 4 a long time of MIT engineering school…for what?”
He begun driving the scenes. He worked the campaigns and built buddies with up-and-coming customers of the Legislature, such as Tony Cárdenas, now a congressman. He served as an aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. In 1998, he eventually ran for a seat of his own and a 12 months later on, at 26, he was elected to the Los Angeles Metropolis Council. At 28, he became the council’s youngest president — a feat not just for Padilla, but for the developing coalition of Latino Democrats in the valley’s northeast.
On the Los Angeles City Council, Padilla experienced a knack for bringing “consensus and tranquil and peace,” claimed Harvey Englander, a longtime lobbyist and community affairs guide in Los Angeles. “It’s not that he didn’t make waves but he didn’t make enemies.”
With Tuesday’s appointment, a quarter century right after California voters passed Prop. 187, Padilla will develop into the state’s to start with Latino U.S. Senator.
- A pal of Newsom’s
Padilla’s alliance with Newsom commenced as a marriage of benefit.
When Newsom introduced his bid to run for governor in 2010, hard the elder statesman and front runner Jerry Brown, the San Francisco mayor knew he required to make inroads in southern California — specifically with Latino voters.
And so the gubernatorial hopeful picked Padilla, a newly elected state senator and a climbing star in the bash, to help him do just that.
Newsom’s bid was a extensive shot that predictably unsuccessful. He dropped his marketing campaign right before Brown even officially introduced his own operate, opting as a substitute to campaign for lieutenant governor. But Newsom was a rising star in his personal ideal and Padilla’s early assist gave the youthful senator a popular position in a statewide marketing campaign. It also attained him an ally on the rise.
In 2017, when Newsom made a decision to operate for governor yet again, Padilla as soon as again offered his endorsement, supporting the lieutenant governor around Antonio Villaraigosa, who had served as Los Angeles mayor when Padilla was on the council.
That loyalty appears to be to have compensated off.