When Kamala Harris won California’s Senate race to replace Barbara Boxer, that left a vacancy at the Attorney General’s Office. Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday chose to fill that seat by naming Congressman Xavier Becerra as the next Attorney General.
The nomination, which is subject to confirmation by the California State Assembly and Senate, will be officially submitted after Attorney General Harris resigns.
“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant – in the State Legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general,” said Governor Brown. “I’m confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”
In a press release, Mr. Becerra stated, “My job everyday as a Member of Congress is to fight for working families like the one I grew up in. As the son of immigrants, I have never let this purpose escape my work, and I’ve served to this end relentlessly.
“Over the past 24 years as a representative of California’s 34th Congressional district, I have been part of some of the greatest debates confronting our nation, from opposing the Iraq war, to fighting to help Americans recover from the Great Recession, to launching the bipartisan immigration talks and helping write our nation’s health security law.
“This past year, I traveled to 15 states and more than 20 battleground districts to help fellow congressional colleagues and new Members who believe in this good fight. But California right now is ahead of the country when it comes to clean energy, commonsense treatment of immigrants, real health security and so much more.
“Governor Brown has presented me with an opportunity I cannot refuse — to serve as Attorney General of my home state. As a former deputy attorney general, I relished the chance to be our state’s chief law enforcement officer to protect consumers, advance criminal justice reform and, of course, keep our families safe.
“I have accepted Governor Brown’s nomination. I never thought as a child that I’d have the privilege to even walk through the halls of Congress, let alone travel to Washington,” he said. “I’m eternally grateful to my family and constituents and my colleagues, from Leader Nancy Pelosi to our newest Members, whose support continues to energize me everyday.”
Xavier Becerra, 58, of Los Angeles, has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1992, most recently as the first Latino member of the Committee on Ways And Means, ranking member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security and chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
He is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which he chaired from 1997 to 1998, and the Executive Committee of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. In 2010, Rep. Becerra served on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
“Governor Brown and our state leaders lean forward when it comes to advancing and protecting the rights and interests of the more than 38 million people in California,” said Xavier Becerra. “I’m deeply honored by Governor Brown’s confidence in me to serve as our state’s next chief law enforcement officer. It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve my fellow Californians in Congress for the past 24 years, fighting for working families like my parents, and I look forward to continuing that battle as California’s attorney general.”
Prior to his election to Congress, Mr. Becerra served in the California State Assembly as representative for the 59th Assembly District in Los Angeles County from 1990 to 1992. He served as a deputy attorney general in the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 1987 to 1990. The congressman began his legal career in 1984, advocating for and representing individuals with mental illness.
He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Stanford University. Congressman Becerra is the son of working-class parents and was the first in his family to graduate from college with a four-year degree. His mother was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States after marrying his father. He is married to Dr. Carolina Reyes. They are the proud parents of three daughters: Clarisa, Olivia and Natalia.
In a statement released by Attorney General Kamala Harris, the Senator-elect said, “Congressman Xavier Becerra is a dedicated public servant who has fought tirelessly for California’s immigrants, homeowners, and working families. The next Attorney General of California will be tasked with upholding our mission to protect and serve the people as the state’s chief law officer, fight for our constitutional values of fairness, equality, and justice, and protect the most vulnerable among us. I look forward to working with the Congressman and am fully committed to ensuring a smooth and successful transition.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting