Newsom appoints Alex Padilla to U.S. Senate as replacement for Kamala Harris

In this screenshot from the DNCC’s livestream of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla addresses the virtual convention on August 20, 2020. (Photo by DNCC via Getty Images)

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday formally submitted the appointment of Alex Padilla to the U.S. Senate to replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. 

Padilla will become California’s first Latino U.S. Senator.

The announcement comes as Harris formally resigned her position as U.S. Senator Monday morning as she prepares to make history by becoming the first African American and woman to become Vice President of the United States when she is inaugurated alongside President-elect Joe Biden Wednesday. 

RELATED: Kamala Harris resigns Senate seat ahead of Inauguration Day

"I am humbled and honored by your trust in me to represent California in the United States Senate. I look forward to continuing to serve the great State of California as a United States Senator and to ensuring that the rights and democratic principles we cherish are protected and preserved for all people," wrote Senator-designate Padilla in his letter to Governor Newsom.

Padilla also formally resigned Monday morning as Secretary of State, making James Schwab, current Chief Deputy Secretary of State, the Acting Secretary of State in California in accordance with state law. 
Newsom Monday formally submitted a letter to Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon nominating Dr. Shirley Weber to fill the Secretary of State vacancy. The Legislature will have 90 days to vote on Dr. Weber’s confirmation. 

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"It is fitting that on the same day we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — a civil rights icon who fought for justice and representation — we also move forward the appointment of California’s first Latino U.S. Senator Alex Padilla and the nomination of Dr. Shirley Weber who will serve as the first-ever African American Secretary of State. Both will be strong defenders of our democracy during this fragile moment in our nation’s history," said Governor Newsom. "These appointments are only possible because of the trailblazing leadership of my dear friend and California’s own Kamala Harris, who will move on from the Senate to make history by becoming the first African American and woman to serve as Vice President of the United States. This is a proud day for California."

State law empowers the Governor to fill vacancies to the U.S. Senate and, subject to confirmation by the State Senate and Assembly, the Secretary of State. Governor Newsom announced his selection of Padilla and Dr. Weber in December.