Alex Padilla broke down in tears when Gov. Gavin Newsom asked him to be California's first Latino senator
This photo, taken from a video provided by the governor's office, shows California Governor Gavin Newsom during a virtual meeting from his home in Sacramento, California with California Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Monday, December 21, 2020.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla was torn when Governor Gavin Newsom offered him the job of California's first Latino senator.
Newsom elected Padilla to replace elected Vice President Kamala Harris and served for the remainder of her term through 2022, before moving to a full term.
"I am honored, man, and I am humble - because of you," Padilla tearfully told Newsom as he appealed to the victims of his first-generation immigrant parents who came to the US from Mexico.
Padilla said his family background was "why I try so hard to make our democracy as comprehensive as we have built it".
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California Secretary of State Alex Padilla became emotional and burst into tears when Governor Gavin Newsom replaced him as the elected Vice President Kamala Harris and became the first Latino to represent the state in the Senate.
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Newsom shared the news with Padilla in a video call on Monday, reflecting the unusual pandemic circumstances under which Padilla extended the offer. The governor then announced the exchange on his Twitter feed Tuesday after officially announcing Padilla's pick.
After complaining with Padilla about the challenges of having young children at home during the pandemic, Newsom asked him about his immigrant roots and humble upbringing with a father who worked as a cook and a mother who two years ago cleaned their livelihoods and died.
"Your mom and dad came from, remember, I mean they literally both came from Mexico, right?" Newsom asked.
"Yes ... this is a story I'm proud of," replied Padilla. "They actually came separately, they met in Los Angeles, but yeah, they fell in love and applied for green cards."
"Can you imagine what Mom would think now if I asked you if you wanted to be the next US Senator ... of the great state of California?" Newsom asked.
"Do you mean that seriously?" Padilla asked in shock.
"That's the officer - that's the question, brother," Newsom said.
"I'm honored, man, and humble - because of you," said Padilla Newsom through tears. "I can't tell you how many pancakes my father turned or eggs that he messed up in the many, many years my mother cleaned houses to feed us. That's why I'm trying so hard to protect our democracy to be as comprehensive as possible as we have built. "
Padilla has been California's Secretary of State and Chief Election Officer since 2015. He previously served in the Senate of the US state of California and on the Los Angeles City Council, including briefly as President of the City Council.
California is one of 37 states in which governors fill a position in the Senate by agreement, while 13 states require special elections to fill a position in the Senate, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.
Padilla will serve the remainder of Harris' term through 2022. From this point on, he has the opportunity to run for a full term.
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