Lawmaker, College Prof Dr. Shirley Weber Makes History as 1st first Black Secretary of State

Shirley Weber in San Diego, March 2020

By Tanya Decendario and Derrick Pal

SACRAMENTO – College professor and State Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber made history this week when she received a unanimous 29-0 confirmation floor vote from the California State and was sworn in Friday as the first Black Secretary of State in the state’s history.

In December, Gov. Gavin Newsom nominated Dr. Weber to the position of Secretary of State. He describes her as “a tireless advocate and change agent.”

Toni G. Atkins, Senate President Pro Tempore and Chair of the Senate Rules Committee said:  “Dr. Weber’s appointment makes history, but I believe that as Secretary of State, Shirley Weber will continue to make history, especially in ensuring California’s leadership on voting rights and voter participation.”

“I thank the Governor for his nomination, the State Senators and the Assemblymembers who voted to confirm my appointment, and the Californians who expressed their faith in my ability to assume this critical office,” said Dr. Weber. “I look forward to lifting up and defending our democratic values of inclusivity and participation in this new role.”

Senate Leader Atkins proudly states that “it’s no surprise that we have learned so much from Dr. Weber over the years, given her career as a college professor – now, we once again will get to learn from her actions as she leads this critical office, and protects our most sacred democratic process. This is a proud day for California.”

Dr. Weber noted how “Dr. King teaches us that we are at our best when we stand up in service of others and I am humbled to be able to continue to stand up for Californians as Secretary of State.

Dr. Weber received her B.A., M.A, and Ph.D in communications from UCLA.

With her strong commitment to education, she served as a faculty member and chair of the Department of Africana Studies at San Diego State University. For eight years, Dr. Weber was heavily involved with the San Diego City schools as the President and a Board member.

She was first elected to the State Assembly in 2012 where she chaired the Assembly Budget Committee and the Assembly Committee on Elections.

In the four terms she served as an Assembly member, she successfully authored legislation in rebuilding policing practices, mandating ethnic studies as a college requirement at California State University campuses, amplifying voting rights to individuals in parole, and established a task force of study preparations for African Americans.

Tanya Decendario is a third-year student studying Legal Studies at UC Berkeley. She is originally from Sonoma, CA but currently resides in Albany, CA.

Derrick Pal is a fourth-year student at Sacramento State majoring in Criminal Justice and pursuing a minor in Sociology. He is from Elk Grove, California.

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