Alex Padilla, the former California Secretary of State and Los Angeles City Councilman, was formally appointed to the United States Senate Monday after being selected to fill the seat vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
In December, Governor Gavin Newsom announced his selection of Padilla, the first Latino to represent California in the U.S. Senate and the first Southern Californian in nearly three decades.
Padilla is expected to be sworn into office on Wednesday following the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden.
“The son of Mexican immigrants — a cook and house cleaner — Alex Padilla worked his way from humble beginnings to the halls of MIT, the Los Angeles City Council and the State Senate, and has become a national defender of voting rights as California’s Secretary of State. Now, he will serve in the halls of our nation’s Capitol as California’s next United States Senator, the first Latino to hold this office,” said Newsom in a statement. “Through his tenacity, integrity, smarts and grit, California is gaining a tested fighter in their corner who will be a fierce ally in D.C., lifting up our state’s values and making sure we secure the critical resources to emerge stronger from this pandemic. He will be a Senator for all Californians.”
Padilla was sworn in as California’s first Latino Secretary of State in 2015 and pledged to bring more Californians into the democratic process as the state’s top elections official.
“I am honored and humbled by the trust placed in me by Governor Newsom, and I intend to work each and every day to honor that trust and deliver for all Californians,” said Padilla in a statement. “From those struggling to make ends meet to the small businesses fighting to keep their doors open to the health care workers looking for relief, please know that I am going to the Senate to fight for you. We will get through this pandemic together and rebuild our economy in a way that doesn’t leave working families behind.”
Padilla attended local public schools, keeping his focus on books and baseball. He worked his way into the starting rotation at San Fernando High as a senior. The same year, his countless hours of study paid off and he won admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He worked his way through college doing a variety of janitorial and administrative jobs while mentoring younger students back home to follow the same path.
It was the conditions in his neighborhood growing up and the feeling that the Northeast San Fernando Valley wasn’t adequately served by government that awakened his interest in political activism.
As a teenager, Padilla’s family helped organize neighbors to take back the streets from crime. He and his mother would periodically join community leaders to protest environmental injustice and demand the closure of the Lopez Canyon Landfill. In 1994, after California voters passed Proposition 187, the sweeping anti-immigrant measure, his parents finally applied for citizenship and Padilla, now a recent MIT graduate, resolved to put an engineering career aside and dedicate his life to public service.
Demanding a fair share of opportunity and resources for the people of the Northeast San Fernando Valley, Padilla was elected to the Los Angeles City Council as a political outsider at the age of 26. As a member of the City Council, he worked to expand after-school programs to serve 16 schools in his district, worked to reduce class sizes and built state-of-the-art libraries and a children’s museum.
He worked to retain and create more local job opportunities through industrial, commercial and residential development and community reinvestment. And he championed citywide measures to improve air and water quality while directing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to dramatically increase procurement of renewable energy sources.
In 2001, Padilla’s colleagues elected him the youngest Council President in Los Angeles history. As President, he provided citywide leadership at critical times. He was Acting Mayor during the tragedy of September 11, 2001. He assisted in the interview and selection of William Bratton as Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and helped negotiate the approval of LA Live and the modernization of Los Angeles International Airport. In 2005, his colleagues throughout the state elected him President of the California League of Cities.
In 2006, Padilla was elected to the State Senate to represent the more than 1 million people in the San Fernando Valley. As a State Senator, he would go on to author more than 70 bills signed into law by both Republican and Democratic governors.
Padilla lives with his wife Angela, a mental health advocate, and their three sons in the San Fernando Valley.
Vehicle Crashes Over Side Of 5 Freeway In Newhall Pass
A vehicle crashed about 30 feet over the side of the 5 Freeway onto The Old Road in the Newhall Pass Monday morning.
The crash was reported at about 10:50 a.m. Monday near The Old Road and Weldon Canyon Road in Newhall, according to officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Initial reports to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) indicated the vehicle landed on its roof after crashing down a hillside, according to CHP logs.
Two paramedic squads and ambulances were requested to the scene, according to fire officials.
The Santa Clarita Valley Search and Rescue team responded to the incident but were later canceled.
A total of two victims from one vehicle were transported to a local hospital in unknown condition, according to the department.
This is a breaking news story, more information will be added as it becomes available.
Snow Flurries In Santa Clarita Valley Possible After Next Storm System Arrives
Snow flurries in parts of the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys are possible as another storm is predicted to hit the Southland.
National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists are reporting a “brief lull” between storms Sunday morning with another system moving into Southern California in the afternoon.
Snow accumulations across the Antelope Valley foothills could be between one to three inches near Highway 138 from Llano to Little Rock and Highway 138 west of the 14 Freeway towards Neenach to near Gorman.
The Santa Clarita Valley could see a dusting as well, according to the NWS.
Forecasters “would not be surprised” if portions of Santa Clarita Valley saw some snow flurries, especially around the foothills on Monday, according to the NWS.
Snow levels are expected to lower to 2000 feet and possibly down to 1500 feet, according to the weather service.
High winds are expected to affect portions of the Antelope Valley, a high wind watch is in effect Monday morning through the evening with gusts possibly exceeding 60 mph.
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a cold weather alert due to wind chill temperatures expected to be below freezing.
The weather alert is in effect for the Santa Clarita Valley from Monday, Jan.25 through Tuesday, Jan. 26, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
In the Antelope Valley, the alert is in effect from Sunday through Thursday, Jan. 28.
“Children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold weather. Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County Health Officer in a statement. “There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities. We also want to remind people not to use stoves, barbeques or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Due to the predicted snow, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Fort Tejon Area Office has implemented “Operation Snowflake” to prepare for a possible shut down of the 5 Freeway in the Grapevine.
As of 10:30 a.m. Sunday, the I-5 remains open, with CHP officers monitoring road conditions.
Jackknifed Big Rig Prompts SigAlert Near Newhall Pass
A jackknifed big rig is leaking fuel Saturday afternoon, prompting a SigAlert in Sylmar near the Newhall Pass.
The crash was first reported at about 12:05 p.m. Saturday at the northbound 5 Freeway truck route near north of the 210 Freeway, according to Brian Humphrey, spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).
Upon arrival, firefighters reported a multi-vehicle collision in the truck lanes, involving a jackknifed big rig leaking diesel fuel from a punctured 100-gallon tractor tank, according to Humphrey.
LAFD personnel have stopped the leak and are working to contain the spill as of 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has issued a SigAlert for the truck route transition from the westbound 210 Freeway to the northbound I-5, according to CHP logs.
All lanes of the transition are estimated to be closed for about one hour, according to the CHP.
Initial reports to the CHP indicated the collision involved three big rigs, including a tomato truck and a Freightliner.
No injuries have been reported in connection to the incident.