B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
KEY HEALTH LINK
Padilla has served on the Los Angeles Leadership Council of the American Diabetes Association for more than 15 years. Padilla’s service is inspired by his mother’s struggles with diabetes.
Sen. Padilla’s wife, Angela Padilla, is a mental health advocate and founder of FundaMental Change (see mental health section).
Secretary of State of California, 2015-2021; Member of the California State Senate (20th District), 2006-2014; Member of the Los Angeles City Council, 1999-2006
2020 ELECTION CONTEXT
On December 22, 2020, Padilla was selected by California Governor Gavin Newsom to replace Sen. Kamala Harris, who was elected as Vice President-elect of the United States beginning in January 2021. Padilla is the first Hispanic senator from California and the first male senator to represent the state since 1993. During the nomination process, Padilla received prominent support from his former boss, Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Kamala Harris (D) (elected Vice President of the United States)
MOST RECENT PROFESSION
Secretary of State of California
First elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1999, Padilla was the first Latino and the youngest person elected president of the Los Angeles City Council. As a state senator, he was voted one of California’s “Most Effective Legislators” by Around the Capitol in 2013. Padilla is often noted for his commitment to bipartisanship and passion for the expansion of voting access.
Padilla is a former member of the governing board of MIT and the former President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). Padilla is a former assistant of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and served as a campaign manager for several California assemblymen, including now-Rep. Tony Cárdenas.
On The Issues
Padilla has stated that COVID-19 response and relief will continue to be a priority of his tenure in the Senate, especially vaccine distribution in the first few months of 2021.
According to his website, Padilla supports “universal health care” and an expansion of access to health care services. As state senator, Padilla abstained from a vote to establish a single payer health care system in 2012 (SB810).
As secretary of state after California’s 2016 vote to legalize recreational marijuana, Padilla helped implement legalization by licensing cannabis businesses and creating an online portal to help migrate the state’s legacy medical cannabis companies into the new regulation area. To promote that service, Padilla appeared in a public service announcement with comedian Cheech Marin.
As state senator, Padilla voted to support employment protections for medical cannabis patients and opposed DEA raids on cannabis companies.
Padilla has expressed support for the federal MORE Act.
MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION
In the summer of 2020, Padilla expressed support for a bill to improve parity for mental health services in California. Padilla also supported the development of a three-digit hotline for mental health support at the federal level.
Sen. Padilla’s wife, Angela Padilla, is a mental health advocate and founder of FundaMental Change, an organization committed to eliminating the stigma associated with mental health conditions and improving access to quality care and resources for families impacted by a mental illness. Angela was inspired to start FundaMental Change after her experience as a caretaker for her mother, who was diagnosed with Bipolar I with schizoaffective disorder when Angela was a child. Sen. Padilla was honored by the organization as a champion of change at a gala
Sen. Padilla's wife, Angela Padilla, is a mental health advocate and founder of FundaMental Change, a organization committed to eliminating the stigma associated with mental health conditions and improving access to quality care and resources for families living with a mental illness. Angela was inspired to start FundaMental Change after her experience as a caretaker of her mother, who was diagnosed with Bipolar I with schizoaffective disorder when Angela was a child. Alex Padilla was honored by the organization as a champion of change at a gala in 2019.
VETERANS HEALTH CARE
Padilla is "100% pro-choice" and opposes efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade. He also opposed proposed cuts of federal funding for Planned Parenthood in 2019. As state senator, Padilla authored SB1770, a bill to bolster “the investigation and reporting of cases involving anti-reproductive-rights crimes.”
OTHER HEALTH CARE ISSUES
To address obesity and diabetes, Padilla authored the law that made California the first state in the nation to require chain restaurants to post calorie information directly on menus and menu boards. This practice was later implemented nationwide in the Affordable Care Act. Padilla has served on the Los Angeles Leadership Council of the American Diabetes Association for more than 15 years.
As state senator, Padilla authored the California Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act, legislation protecting residents from discrimination based on genetic information.
Padilla authored California's first smoke free housing law and fought to increase enforcement and penalties for the illegal sale of tobacco to minors. He also established a sustainable funding source for pediatric trauma care throughout the state.
DID YOU KNOW?
Padilla’s parents, Santos and Lupe, both emigrated from Mexico before meeting and marrying in Los Angeles. He earned his varsity letter on the baseball team as a senior at San Fernando High School; Padilla was a pitcher known for his change-up.