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Gavin Newsom may have an opportunity to make history by appointing California’s first Latinx senator. Photo: AP/Getty Images
Gavin Newsom may have an opportunity to make history by appointing California’s first Latinx senator. Photo: AP/Getty Images

Kamala as VP could open the doors for a Latino Senator in California

California’s governor is expected to face pressure to select a Latinx Senator if Kamala Harris becomes Vice President.

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With Hispanics and Latinos constituting the largest ethnic community in California, why are they not represented in the highest positions of the Golden State’s power?

If Senator Kamala Harris becomes Vice President in November, it is long past due for California to have its first Latinx senator to represent its majority, and California Governor Gavin Newsom has the opportunity to appoint someone monumental.

The 17th Amendment gives governors the power to make appointments to fill their state’s vacancies in the U.S. Senate. Should Harris make her way to the White House, Newsom will have the power to appoint a candidate of his choice, reported the Fresno Bee.

40% of Californians are Latinx or Hispanic. The time is now to make some serious considerations if the time comes.

Though Latinx public officials have risen to various positions of power in California over the past 20 years, its two U.S. Senate seats and the Governor’s office have continued to evade them.

Yes, California’s Latinx leaders are represented throughout its legislature, via representatives, and state senators, but none have broken through to the highest offices in the state. 

Nationally, nine Hispanic Americans have served in the U.S. Senate, reported the Sacramento Bee. Four are currently serving, including Sen. Robert Menedez (D-NJ), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

There are also speculations that Newsom will face pressure to appoint a Black woman to replace Harris. The LA Times reported Harris is only the second Black woman in U.S. history to serve in the U.S. Senate, so it is not as if the fight to increase Black representation is over.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, is a force in modern politics, highlighted amid this year’s scrutiny on civil rights, and even more so after she became a finalist for Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick.

The great thing about California is that there’s no shortage of BIPOC candidates open for consideration. The problem is actually elevating them to these positions of power.

This is speculation, yes, as Trump is actively working to undermine the election in his favor. But it's important to consider and have a part in the future of this nation’s representation in the highest levels of power.

California is the world’s largest non-national GDP. To have control at this level for Latinx candidates would not only be historic, it would open the door to, say, the vice presidency and Presidency as it did for Harris.
 

A few top leaders who could be in the running:
 

Alex Padilla – Former Los Angeles City Council president and state senator, Padilla has been Gov. Newsom’s closest allies for over a decade, including in Newsom’s unsuccessful run for governor in 2010. He currently serves as California State Secretary, and is the highest-ranking Latino in the state.

Hilda Solis – Currently serving as Los Angeles County Supervisor, the former congress member, state Senator, and assemblymember served as U.S. Secretary of Labor during Barack Obama’s administration.

Xavier Becerra – Becerra succeeded Kamala Harris’ position in California to become the first Latino to serve as state attorney general. The former congressman and state assemblymember has won a record number of court cases against Trump.

Robert Garcia – The mayor of Long Beach, surprisingly, is also a strong contender. A gay immigrant from Peru, Garcia has been a longtime supporter of Newsom’s and is even scheduled to participate in this year’s Democratic National Convention. 

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