Get to Know California Senator Alex Padilla

By | January 18, 2023

Alex Padilla is the current Senator for the State of California, and is the first Latino to ever hold that position. Born in Los Angeles in 1973, Padilla’s life story is a testament to the power of immigrant families and hard work. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Padilla attended local schools, eventually graduating from UCLA with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Padilla has been a prominent figure in California politics since 1999, when he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council. With a background in both business and education, he is a champion of social justice and a strong advocate for working families. Here we will take a closer look at his background, career and accomplishments.

Early Life

Alex Padilla was born in Los Angeles, California on December 6, 1973. He is the son of Mexican immigrants who worked to make ends meet during his childhood. From an early age he was exposed to the realities of inequality and lack of opportunity in his community.

Padilla attended local public schools and graduated from University High School in West Los Angeles, before enrolling at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1994. While at MIT he worked as a laboratory assistant and researched semiconductor materials for advanced computing applications.

Following graduation from MIT, Padilla returned home to Los Angeles and enrolled at UCLA Law School, graduating with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree in 1999.


Alex Padilla was born on December 23, 1973 in Los Angeles, California to parents Teresa and Rudy Padilla. He was raised in Pacoima and went to schools in the San Fernando Valley. His educational background encompasses two bachelor’s degrees: a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a B.A. degree in Political Science from UCLA.

After college, he worked as an engineer while attending City Attorney Gil Garcetti’s Public Clinic at Southwestern University School of law, where he obtained his Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree in 2000.

In 2003-04, Padilla served for the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission as the vice president and eventually president of the board during his term there. He then served an appointment on the California Virtual Academies Governing Board-Oversight Committee until 2008 when he became a California State Senator; representing District 20 (Los Angeles). During this service he was recognized as Business Person of The Year by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and earned 100% ratings from both Consumer Federation Taxpayers Association and National Federation Merchants Association.

In 2014 Alex became a Secretary of State after being elected by Californians with 54% agreement amongst voters statewide making him one of first Latino senators nationwide holding this position.

Political Career

Alex Padilla‘s political career began in 1999, when he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council. He was reelected in 2003 and served until 2006. From 2006 to 2014, he served as a member of the California State Senate and was the Majority Whip in 2009-2010.

In 2014, he was elected as California’s Secretary of State, and in 2020, he was appointed to the United States Senate by Governor Gavin Newsom, succeeding Kamala Harris after her election as Vice President.

Early Political Career

Alex Padilla began his political career in 1999, when he was appointed to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission by then-Mayor Richard Riordan. In 2001, Padilla ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council and won with 66% of the vote.

During his tenure on the City Council, Padilla succeeded in diversifying the economic development investments in San Fernando Valley neighborhoods. He authored initiatives to promote investment in infrastructure and technology throughout the city and served on an array of committees focused on public safety, economic development, and youth services.

In 2006, Padilla was elected to serve as California State Senate District 20 representing portions of northeast Los Angeles County and western San Bernardino County. During his time in office he chaired both transportation and energy committees, developed legislation that incentivized green buildings industries, promoted government efficiency projects such as ban-the-box for job applicants with prior arrests or convictions records, supported key environmental protection measures including AB 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act) and championed healthcare access expansion through Medi-Cal coverage eligibility expansion.

California State Senate

Alex Padilla began his political career in 1999, when he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council. He served as councilman until 2006, when he entered the race for California State Senate.

In November 2006, Alex Padilla won a seat in the California State Senate representing District 20, located in Los Angeles County. In his first term as Senator, Padilla tackled many important policy areas and sponsored several bills relating to education reform and workforce development. He also fought to protect streams and aquifers from development while advocating for the rights of undocumented immigrants.

During his three terms as a state senator, Padilla chaired the Committee of Rules, where he worked with fellow democratic members of the Senate to pass numerous pieces of legislation aimed at improving public services such as health care, housing and transportation. He also introduced several bills that sought to improve California’s education system, reduce government spending and create more job opportunities for undocumented immigrants.

In 2014, Alex Padilla was elected California Secretary of State by wide margins across all 58 counties in California. During his tenure as secretary of state, he modernized elections systems throughout California by introducing technology upgrades that streamlined registration processes for voters and improved ballot accuracy throughout the state’s election system.

Secretary of State

In 2015, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Alex Padilla to be California’s 40th Secretary of State. As the state’s chief elections officer and an ex-officio member of numerous boards and commissions, Padilla had opportunities to implement a proactive and innovative agenda of which he was particularly proud.

He advocated for voter access, increased political disclosure requirements, wrote regulations facilitating online voter registration, improved election security protocols, launched a record-breaking business outreach campaign focused on small businesses (SOS Business Edge), achieved the most successful vote-by-mail primary in California history, introduced first bilingual voting manual in state history and more.

Padilla also advanced initiatives protecting consumers from deceptive advertising by those posing as registered charities such as fake veteran support organizations. Additionally, he provided enhanced services for Californians living overseas by releasing SOSVotes – an iOS app for military personnel out of state.

Personal Life

Alex Padilla was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Pacoima. He is the son of Mexican immigrants and the first in his family to graduate college. He has two sisters and is the proud father of two daughters, Gabriela and Natalia.

In 1997 he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Since then, he has had a distinguished political career.


Alex Padilla was born to a Mexican-American family in the Pacoima neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. His father, Ruben Padilla, was born in Mexico and worked as an auto mechanic while his mother, Lupe Padilla, stayed at home with Alex and his siblings to care for them. The family attended the local Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church every Sunday.

Alex has two sisters – Aurora and Patricia Padilla – who are both married and work in the corporate world. They have four children between them; two boys and two girls. His brother Ruben is enrolled in college hoping to become an engineer like his father. His other brother Raul is a classical pianist and composer who lives in New York City.

Padilla has been married to Katherine Casserly since 2009; they were introduced by a common friend during law school graduation day celebrations. The couple now resides in El Niño Hills, California with their son Maximiliano Leslie “Max” Padilla (born September 6th, 2010). He is also captain of the El Niño Hills Soccer Club’s U-13 team where he plays defense as his main position.


Throughout his career, Alex Padilla has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to the people and their needs. In 1999, he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council with an overwhelming victory in a special election following the death of Council Member Mike Hernandez. As a member of the City Council, Alex Padilla successfully advanced major projects that included securing more than $4 billion for infrastructure investment and introducing a groundbreaking Living Wage Ordinance.

Alex Padilla was elected to two full terms on the Los Angeles City Council from 1999-2006. From 2006-2014, he served as president of California’s State Senate. During this time, he helped pass legislation that improved California’s business climate and invested in education, renewable energy, higher education affordability, veterans support and protections for undocumented immigrants not just in California but around the country.

In 2014 Senator Padilla was elected statewide as Secretary of State of California—the first Latino to be elected to statewide office in more than 130 years (Rafael Carrillo was elected Secretary of State on November 2nd 1882). Since 2014 Alex Padilla has fought to protect voting rights while also modernizing voting systems have an average voter turnout rate exceeding 63%, one of only 10 states nationwide with above average turnout rates according to a survey by Cato Institute’s Election Security Task Force. As part of that effort he spearheaded efforts toward implementing automatic voter registration which could add millions of eligible citizens to the voting rolls each year. He has also fought illegal attempts at suppression via vote-by-mail fraud prosecution along with Voter ID fraud prevention initiatives. Senator Alex Padilla continues his work as an advocate for working people, families and immigrants as well as leading efforts in protecting our environment including clean air and water regulations designed secure ecological conditions for future generations.


To conclude, Senator Alex Padilla has had a long and distinguished political career. He is an example of what a person can accomplish with hard work and dedication to the public good. Since taking office in 2014, he has been a powerful advocate for public safety and family law issues in California.

He works hard to ensure all Californians receive quality healthcare, expand access to education, support services for immigrant communities, and create jobs that provide security for all families. His accomplishments are proof of his commitment to serving Californians to build a better future for us all.

We look forward with optimism as Senator Padilla continues his leadership in California politics for years to come.