Governor Gavin Newsom has nominated State Assemblywoman Dr. Shirley Weber to be California's next Secretary of State, his office confirmed Tuesday.
If confirmed, Weber would become the first Black Secretary of State in California's history. She currently heads the California Legislative Black Caucus.
"Being the first African American woman in this position will be a monumental responsibility, but I know that I am up for the challenge," Weber said in a statement.
The nominee joined Newsom and the current Secretary of State on Wednesday for a virtual introduction ceremony. Weber thanked Padilla for their joint efforts on advancing voting rights, a passionate cause of hers.
Weber said her father moved his family to California in the 50s for fear of being lynched in Hope, Arkansas, where she was born. It wasn't until coming to the Golden State that her father began voting. In later years, her Los Angeles home became a recurring polling place.
"To be given the opportunity to be able to, somehow or another, do things that my family only dreamed about, that my father never thought in his lifetime would ever happen -- that his daughter would be the person and the secretary of state whose responsibility was to ensure the integrity of voting in California, to make sure that everyone had that right and that right was protected," Weber said.
Weber currently represents California's 79th Assembly District, which covers parts of southeastern San Diego, including the cities of Bonita, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City and San Diego. She has served that office since 2012.
Weber has also served as the president of the San Diego Board of Education and had a 40-year career at San Diego State University, co-founding its Department of Africana Studies.
“Dr. Weber is a tireless advocate and change agent with unimpeachable integrity,” Newsom said. "Now, she’ll be at the helm of California’s elections as the next Secretary of State -- defending and expanding the right to vote and serving as the first African American to be California’s Chief Elections Officer.”
Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins issued a statement immediately after the announcement:
“I am thrilled to congratulate my good friend and fellow San Diegan, Dr. Shirley Weber, on her historic appointment as California’s Secretary of State. Dr. Weber has been an effective and passionate leader in affirming and protecting the rights of all. As Secretary of State she will not only fight to protect our vital right to vote, I know she will help ensure the workings of state government are visible and accessible to all Californians.”
Newsom's nomination comes after the governor announced Alex Padilla, who has served California's Secretary of State since 2015, would fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The governor's nomination will be submitted to the State Legislature for approval.