Before that, “I wouldn’t say that I had ever dreamed of running for office, but I knew I had to do my part or our church would continue to have a scapegoat,” he said in an interview last month.
Mr. Padilla worked as the community organizer for Art Torres, who later headed the state’s Democratic Party (and also oversaw Mr. Becerra). He then led legislative campaigns for two Latino politicians in Los Angeles and worked in Ms. Feinstein’s field office before winning his seat on the Los Angeles City Council with the support of the city’s Latino-dominated unions. Until 2001 he was the youngest President of the Council.
In 2003, when Mr. Newsom was running for Mayor of San Francisco, Mr. Padilla introduced him to the Los Angeles contacts and helped strengthen his position against a Latino opponent. Several years later, as a Senate member, Mr. Padilla carried out Mr. Newsom’s offer for governor from 2009 before Jerry Brown entered the race, and Mr. Newsom was eliminated and ran for lieutenant governor instead.
In 2018, he stood by Mr. Newsom again, giving him early support in a crowded elementary school that included former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
As Secretary of State, Padilla promised to register a million new California voters. The state has added more than four million because of legislation it endorses that registers Californians to vote when they get their driver’s license.
As a state lawmaker, Mr. Padilla also supported universal health care, the choice of reproduction, the expansion of green production and solar power, and laws that track stolen weapons and prevent criminals from possessing body armor.
His first task in the Senate is “Covid, Covid, Covid”. “There are big problems, of course, but we cannot fully address them until we are in control of this pandemic,” he said.