A coalition of local Latino elected officials, community leaders and organizations will gather at Cesar Chavez Park on Thursday to call on Gov. Gavin Newsom to appoint a Latina or Latino to the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Sen. Kamala Harris in January 2021.
Since California became the 31st state in 1850, there has never been a Latino to represent California in the U.S. Senate. With Latinos now comprising nearly 40% of the state population and growing, these Latino leaders say now is the time for Newsom to act in appointing one to the Senate seat.
Local leaders scheduled to speak at Thursday's news conference include: Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego; Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego; Former San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez; San Diego Councilwoman Vivian Moreno; San Diego County Supervisor-Elect Nora Vargas; National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis; Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas; Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez; and San Diego Unified School Board Member Richard Barrera.
Dozens of Latino leaders have already gathered in Fresno and Sacramento this week, and other news conferences will be held in Los Angeles on Friday and San Jose on Monday. According to the group Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, there "is no shortage of highly qualified candidates for Governor Newsom to choose from."
The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution empowers state governors to make appointments to fill their states vacancies in the U.S. Senate. Governors have made such appointments 201 times throughout U.S. history, including five times in California with John Seymour in 1991, Pierre Salinger in 1964, Thomas Kuchel in 1953, William Knowland in 1945 and Thomas Storke in 1938.