Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will officially resign from her post as the state of California’s junior senator on Monday. Harris is required to leave office before she is sworn in as the new vice president on January 20. Harris served as a senator for four years before being tapped as President-elect Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 presidential election.
As mandated by law, California Gov. Gavin Newsom was able to appoint a new senator to take Harris’ place. He chose a longtime colleague of Harris when he selected Alex Padilla to fill that role. Padilla is currently serving as California’s secretary of state and is planning to be sworn in as a senator on Wednesday, the same day that Biden and Harris step into their new positions. Padilla will join California senior Senator Dianne Feinstein, also a Democrat.
Replacing Padilla in California will be Assembly Member Shirley Weber.
Padilla Joins Becerra
The state of California will need to backfill its own ranks with the departure of Padilla. In addition, Biden has selected California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to head up the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This role has come into the spotlight in recent months because of its importance in guiding the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of his duties, Becerra will be in charge of the COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
Becerra will face a tough road to confirmation in the Senate, according to some Republican strategists. However, if confirmed, Newsom will need to fill the important role of the state attorney general.