Gov. Newsom nominates Alex Padilla to fill Harris’ seat

Governor Gavin Newsom has nominated Alex Padilla to the U.S. Senate to fill Kamala Harris’ soon to be vacant seat. This will make him Calfornia’s first Latino U.S Senator. Mr. Padilla graduated from MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering. He started his political career serving as a personal assistant for Dianne Feinstein. From there he worked on multiple political campaigns before he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1999. After two years of serving on the City Council, he was elected council president at age 26, making him the youngest council president. He was then elected to the California Senate in 2006. Most recently Padilla served as California Secretary of State.

Padilla has made several consequential decisions during his time in public office. One of his most notable policy decisions was banning plastic bags. Padilla drafted the controversial legislation to ban plastic bags, which led to an uproar in his hometown of Los Angeles since it threatened many jobs in the city. 

Padilla also implemented several controversial voting legislations. For example, he loosened voting restrictions regarding signature matching. Even before the pandemic Padilla drafted legislation allowing widespread mail-in ballots. His decision sparked massive blowback as it sent meant ballots would be sent to people who had not requested them. 

Many of his voting legislation has put him at odds with Republicans challenging the integrity of the election process. Notably, he allowed people to register to vote and vote on the same day, which is a process that had previously not been allowed. Additionally, he replaced 4,500 voting machines before the 2020 presidential election. Both of these changes lead to speculation regarding the integrity of election results.

Padilla has also been involved in a controversy regarding his voter outreach program. Padilla’s voter outreach program intended to give California’s information regarding elections that took place in 2020. The program, conducted in partnership with SKDKnickerbocker, cost $34 million. Some believe that Padilla did not properly allocate funds and as of now, he has not paid for the program. The impartiality of this program has also come into question as SKDKnickerbocker is openly pro-Biden and the Democratic Party. 

Photo by Rich Pedroncelli/AP