Californians Elect First Latino Secretary of State with State Senator Alex Padilla
Californian voters elected its first Latino Secretary of State on Election Day.
The newly elected Secretary of State is Alex Padilla, a state senator for California's 20th District, the San Fernando Valley, since 2006. According to California's current Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office, Padilla won with 52.5 percent against Republican candidate Pete Peterson, who received 47.5 percent.
In a prepared statement following his victory, Padilla said, "I'm proud of our positive campaign that was focused on creating jobs, protecting voting rights, engaging more voters and increasing transparency. In this campaign, I visited all of California's 58 counties to meet with local election officials and listen to community concerns. In that spirit, I intend to be a much more visible, active Secretary of State."
"I am honored that millions of California voters put their trust in me in this election. As Secretary of State, I will work every day to strengthen California's economy and democracy," Padilla added.
Peterson, the executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement, accepted the narrow defeat. In a statement on Nov. 5, Peterson wrote, "After thousands of calls, thousands of miles, and hundreds of speeches/interviews, I can say without reservation that we 'left it all on the field' in this campaign. And while there were glimmers last night that we might push it over the finish line, this morning's news was a bitter pill."
Peterson added he will continue his professional life to ensure Californians are "better involved and informed" in decisions that may affect their daily lives.
Padilla becoming the first Latino secretary of state in California is not the first time he made history for the Latino community. He was elected into the Los Angeles City Council at age 26 and later elected as president of the Council, becoming the youngest and first Latino to hold the title. As president of the LA City Council, he was also elected as the first Latino to serve as president of the California League of Cities.
While serving for California's 20th District, Padilla also served as president of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), a nonprofit organization representing more than 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials nationwide.
Padilla's victory as the Golden State's first Latino secretary of state comes as Californians also voted to elect Democrats Pete Aguilar and Norma Torres to the U.S. House of Representatives for the 31st District and 35th District, respectively. As a result, the incoming 114th Congress will feature the largest class of Latinos ever. When the new Congress starts on Jan. 3, 2015, the House of Representatives will have 29 Latinos and three senators in the Senate.
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