Meet Alex

Alex Padilla is the proud son of immigrants.

Alex Padilla was born and raised in the proud working class community of Pacoima, California, in the San Fernando Valley. He is the proud son of immigrant parents who came to the United States from Mexico in pursuit of the American Dream.

Santos and Lupe Padilla instilled in Alex and his siblings the values of service to others and of getting a good education. For 40 years, Santos worked as a short order cook. To this day, he boasts that his kitchen “never failed an inspection.” Lupe cleaned houses for families in the more affluent communities of Los Angeles.

Alex grew up in a modest three-bedroom home in one of Los Angeles’ toughest neighborhoods where gang activity, prostitution and open-air drug dealing were rampant. The sounds of gunfire and sirens were almost daily events.

Alex attended local public schools. He managed to stay out of trouble by finding refuge in books and baseball. Starting at age 8, Alex played baseball, first in little league and then for San Fernando High School. Alex earned admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Growing up, Alex always felt that his community was overlooked and underserved. This experience fueled Alex’s political activism. In the 1980s, Alex’s parents helped organize neighbors to take back their community from crime. As a teen, Alex would join his mother to protest environmental injustice and demand closure of the Lopez Canyon Landfill. Finally, in 1994, as Proposition 187, a sweeping anti-immigrant measure was approved by the voters of California, Alex resolved to put an engineering career aside and dedicate his life to civic engagement and public service.

Following the 2020 Presidential Election, Alex Padilla was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to fill the Senate seat vacated by now-Vice President Kamala Harris On January 20, 2021, Alexwas sworn in as Senator and became the first Latino to represent California in the United States Senate.

In his first year in the Senate, Alex fought to secure billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief for California families and small businesses, pushed for bold climate action to improve access to clean air and water, introduced sweeping legislation to increase affordable housing and protect families from wildfires, and has led the fight for voting rights and immigration reform.

  • Secured COVID-19 relief: Alex was proud to vote for the American Rescue Plan, which brought billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief to California to safely reopen schools, support small businesses, ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations, expand the child tax-credit, and provide emergency rental assistance for California families.
  • Ensuring access to clean air and water: Alex pushed for bold climate action to guarantee access to clean air and water. He is a proud champion of the Green New Deal, and his legislation to electrify school buses, replace lead pipes, improve water resiliency, and strengthen the electric grid was successfully signed into law by President Biden. Alex also successfully worked with the Biden Administration to restore California’s ability to independently regulate vehicle emissions.
  • Championing legislation to address critical challenges: Alex has introduced legislation to increase affordable housing, address the homelessness crisis, and protect our communities from wildfires. Alex has already secured $80 million for wildfire prevention projects for California.
  • Led the fight for voting rights: Alex has helped lead the national fight for federal voting rights reform. Alex was one of the few Senators tapped to help author the Freedom to Vote Act, and he tirelessly advocated for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to advance in the Senate. When Republicans obstructed progress on the legislation, Alex was one of the first national leaders to use his platform to call for the elimination of the filibuster.
  • Leading the call for immigration reform: Alex is leading the fight for immigration reform in the Senate. His first bill as a U.S. Senator would provide a pathway to citizenship for essential workers. Alex remains committed to ensuring that immigration reform is achieved.

Alex previously served as California Secretary of State. He was sworn in as California Secretary of State on January 5, 2015 with a pledge to bring more Californians into the democratic process. With President Trump attacking democracy and the right to vote, Alex became a national leader in defense of voting rights and the American Dream.

As California’s Chief Elections Officer, Alex worked to make elections more accessible, inclusive, and secure.

  • More than 22 million voters: Under Alex’s leadership, voter registration reached an all-time high, with more than 22 million Californians registered to vote, the highest rate in nearly 70 years.
  • Expanded access to the ballot: Alex implemented innovative reforms like automatic voter registration, same-day registration, pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds, and the Voter’s Choice Act, a modern election model which offers voters more options for when, where, and how to vote including vote-by-mail and in-person early voting.
  • Protected our elections: Alex oversaw a historic investment in the upgrade of voting systems statewide to better protect against hacking, fraud and manipulation. Voting system security requirements in California are now the strongest in the nation.

In 2006, Alex was elected to the California State Senate where he represented the more than 1 million people in the San Fernando Valley. As a Senator, he would go on to pass more than 70 bills. Around the Capitol named Alex one of Sacramento’s “Most Effective Legislators” for his ability to “cross ideological lines, take on big bills and keep warring parties within the caucus.”

Over two terms as State Senator, Padilla authored dozens of pieces of landmark legislation:

  • Fighting climate change & protecting our environment: Alex passed legislation increasing California’s renewable energy standards, expanding clean-tech manufacturing and solar power, developing clean fuels, and modernizing the electrical grid. He also passed the nation’s first statewide ban on single use plastic bags.
  • Expanding educational opportunity: Alex passed bills to bridge the digital divide, expand access to college, help English Language Learners reach language proficiency, and better protect student athletes.
  • Building healthier communities: Alex fought for universal health care, cracked down on the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors, combat the diabetes and obesity epidemics, strengthened patient protections, and improved food safety.
  • Increasing gun safety: He passed common-sense gun safety reforms like improving the ability to track stolen guns and stopping felons from possessing body armor.
  • Harnessing technology and innovation: Educated as an engineer, Alex fought for the ethical advancement of science and technology. He authored legislation to protect Californians from discrimination based on their genetic information and wrote the bill mandating the deployment of a statewide Earthquake Early Warning System.

In 2001, Alex’s colleagues elected him to serve as Los Angeles City Council President, becoming the youngest and first Latino Council President in the history of the City of Los Angeles. As Council President, Alex provided citywide leadership at critical times. He was Acting Mayor during the tragedy of September 11, 2001. He participated in the interview and selection of William Bratton as Chief of Police and helped negotiate the approval of LA Live and the modernization of Los Angeles International Airport. In 2005, he was also elected President of the California League of Cities.

In 1999, Alex was elected to the Los Angeles City Council as a political outsider at the age of 26. As a member of the Los Angeles City Council, he was a champion for schools, libraries, and parks; worked to retain and support local jobs; and fought to close landfills. 

Alex and his wife Angela are raising their three sons in the San Fernando Valley.