Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Alex Padilla was sworn in to serve in the 117th Congress, the first Latino to represent California in the United States Senate. Padilla will begin his first session in a Democratic-majority Senate made possible by Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who were also sworn in today. Vice President Kamala Harris officiated the ceremony.
Nathalie Rayes, Latino Victory Fund president & CEO, issued the following statement:
“Senator Padilla’s already making waves in the U.S. Senate, joining efforts to ensure immigrants working on the Covid-19 frontlines have the opportunity to become citizens. He’s a Latino and immigrant rights activist at heart, but he’s also a public servant and an effective legislator, qualities that will help him become a force for good in the Senate. California’s first Latino senator broke a barrier for future generations of Latinos and, with his historic appointment, has also pushed the needle towards equal representation in the Senate.
“Padilla is poised to hit the ground running in a Democratic-majority Senate, a watershed moment that was made possible by the victories of Senators Warnock and Ossoff. Georgia’s voters elected Warnock and Ossoff because their victories will put the American people’s well-being over politics and create a functional, working Senate. We applaud the candidates, organizers, and activists’ formidable efforts to mobilize voters of color, especially Black and Latino voters, which paid off in a resounding win for our country. With Senators like Padilla, Warnock and Ossoff, who support Covid-19 relief, humane immigration reform, access to health care, and voter rights protections, Congress has the opportunity of a lifetime to effect meaningful, long-term change to improve our quality of life and strengthen our democracy.”
Latino Victory Fund has been a long-time supporter of Senator Padilla. Last August, the organization launched “Pick Padilla,” an initiative to urge Governor Gavin Newsom to appoint then-Secretary Alex Padilla to the U.S. Senate if Senator Kamala Harris’ seat became vacant. The campaign was launched with an initial five-figure digital ad buy that calls on Californians to support Padilla’s appointment and it ran in key markets through Election Day. The ‘Pick Padilla‘ initiative aimed to galvanize support for Padilla, touting his experience and qualifications as an elected official and his compelling life story as the son of Mexican immigrants.
In December 2020, Latino Victory Fund hosted the ¡Vamos, Georgia! Tour, a weekend of action to galvanize Georgia’s Latino communities to vote in the runoff elections and support Senate candidates Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Led by Latino Victory Fund co-founders Eva Longoria Bastón and Henry R. Muñoz III, Mexican-American actress Kate Del Castillo, actress and activist America Ferrera, and Grammy-winning artist Frankie Negrón, the tour stopped in Latino-heavy communities, including Dalton, Marietta, Forest Park, Atlanta, and Duluth.
The events featured roundtable discussions with Latino small business owners and community members, press conferences, and lit drop launches, culminating in a GOTV car rally in support of the Senate Democratic candidates. Latino Victory Fund first held a ¡Vamos, Georgia! Tour to mobilize Latinos during the 2018 midterm elections. The organization identified the importance of Latino voters in Georgia since 2017 when it launched its Georgia Chapter. Latino Victory has since supported Georgia candidates and held events to mobilize Latino voters and will continue to include this important battleground state in its political programming.
The Latino Victory Fund is a progressive political action committee with the mission of growing Latino political power by increasing Latino representation at every level of government – from the school board to the Senate to the White House.