The appointment of Secretary of State Alex Padilla as California’s first Latino Senator on Tuesday marked an historic moment for a state in which Latinos make up more than 40% of the population.
For some, however, the news came with the disappointing reality that no Black woman will serve now in the upper chamber of Congress.
“We already incredibly hurt and disappointed in the governor’s decision,” said Taisha Brown, chair of the California Democratic Party Black Caucus. “Through a stroke of a pen, his actions have denied a Black female representation in the United States Senate.”
Since the moment it was clear that Kamala Harris could leave the Senate, Democrats across the country were knocking down Gov. Gavin Newsom’s door with suggestions of who should fill the seat. Support was strong for the governor to name the state’s first Latino senator, but many lawmakers and advocacy groups were rallying Newsom to pick a Black woman, specifically, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee or Rep. Karen Bass.
Currently, 25 women serve in the 100-member U.S. Senate, including four women of color. Harris, the only Black woman in the chamber, is only the second Black woman Senator in U.S. history. The first was Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun in 1993.
It’s disappointing, Brown said, to see such an opportunity fall through just months after Black women played such a huge role in delivering Joe Biden and Harris to the White House.
“Too often, Black women are overlooked, but so often, they are the backbone of the Democratic Party,” Brown added. “We do all the sweat, equity and work for candidates, and we’re never rewarded.”
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Lee congratulated Padilla on Tuesday, saying he has a track record as a skilled legislator and is a steadfast advocate for justice. Earlier this month, Lee said she would respect the decision of the governor, but that Harris’ departure leaves a void that needs to be filled.
“There are perspectives and experiences which black women bring to our public policy, to our legislative agenda,” Lee said, speaking on CNN. “I believe that that void that is going to be left by Kamala Harris needs to be filled, because it is a void that will be necessary to move our country forward and to solve the country’s problems.”
Bass, also speaking on CNN earlier this month, said much of the same.
“Kamala Harris was the second African American woman (senator) in U.S. history , and certainly there is going to be a void if she is not replaced with an African American woman,” Bass said.
Following the appointment on Tuesday, Bass gave no indication that she was disappointed in Newsom’s pick.
“Today, our state gains yet another champion following a distinguished line of individuals who have shattered glass ceilings and hurdled obstacles in their way,” Bass said in a statement. “After then-Senator Harris’s historic election in 2016 as the first woman of color to represent California, we now have another historic barrier shattered as Alex will be the first Latino to serve California in the United States Senate.”
Some were less complimentary.
“Today’s decision, unfortunately, leaves us with one less woman and now not a single Black woman in the United States Senate, chipping away at decades of progress that have been made to ensure our United States Senate looks like the America it represents,” said Aimee Allison, Founder of She the People, a national group that works to amplify women of color in politics.
“Once Sen. Harris is sworn into her new role, the nation’s upper chamber will be without a true advocate who can uniquely speak to the needs and issues that are most important to women of color across this country,” Allison said in a statement. “It begs the question: How long will we have to wait to increase the diversity of women of color in the Senate?”
Higher Heights, another organization dedicated to growing Black women’s political leadership, said failing to put another woman in the Senate was a clear setback.
“While Padilla’s appointment is certainly an important step forward for California’s Latino community, it is a significant step back for women across the state and nation and an even further step back for Black women,” the organization said in a statement. “With this appointment, Governor Newsom had the opportunity to select from a slate of extremely qualified women to fill this seat. Instead, he failed to appoint any of the qualified women candidates to the role.”
Newsom’s decision was complicated by the fact that Bass and Lee are serving while Democrats hold only a slim majority in the House. Political experts said even if Newsom had picked a candidate from a solidly-blue district, it would still leave the House without a Democrat for several months at a time when Speaker Nancy Pelosi can’t afford to lose any votes.
Nonetheless, many state and local lawmakers over the past few months joined in on the #keeptheseat movement, including members of the California Legislative Black Caucus and several Los Angeles County Supervisors.
Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley also urged Newsom to appoint a Black woman, saying “we cannot go backwards.”
“CA’s own Kamala Harris shattered the glass ceiling of U.S. VP, and though we hoped a Black female voice would stay in the Senate, we recognize the important milestone of naming Alex Padilla as the first-ever Latino to the position,” tweeted California Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles.
Moving forward, Newsom must acknowledge that those who wanted to see a Black woman take the seat had legitimate concerns, said Manuel Pastor, director of the Equity Research Center at the University of Southern California.
“It’s very tough, because we’re in a kind of zero-sum situation with just one seat,” he said.
Padilla must show Californians that he is invested in helping Black communities, Pastor said.
“He’s going to have to, early on, tackle and look like he’s leading on criminal justice issues, which is of course what Kamala Harris was leading on,” he said. “I know he’s been concerned with health issues over the years. He might want to pick up on Black maternal health, which is a really serious question that affects Black women.”
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It’s like the BLM passionate obsessed race horse owner who chooses his Kentucy Derby entry based on color hoping to get a black stallion, and ends up with a sway back donkey to compete with the thoroughbreds. No chance of a winner or prize money,,,,,maybe the trifecta booby prize for stupidity. It’s WE THE PEOPLE who end up paying the entry fee, and the exit fee from stupidity as well, or be forced to get on the fastest horse available to get out of Dodge and the enitre state before it cracks and falls into the ocean. If I was unfortunate enough to ever live there you could just COLOR me gone. No white crayons left in the Democrat box of approved California colors where even convicted criminals get socially allotted their fair share of power, based on the darkest color of their hearts in their social hate of the successful, or the deep green color of envy.
NOTE, if you mandate it HAS TO be a black, its NEVER EVER seen as being racist. BUT you can bet, if someone said “WE had to make it a white”, the screams of “RACIST” would be deafening.
These hypocritical Democrats profess to be passionate enemies of racism;
but they in fact promote racism by injecting it in every situation that they can.
The dishonorable Democrat Party revolves around and its philosophy is based on Control, Lies, Hate, Cons, Deceptions, Immorality and the lack of Integrity, Ethics or Honor.
And these are what FOOLS vote for, Nancy P, Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, “Crooked Hil-Liar-y” and now the corrupt senile Lyin Biden.
Racism is OK< if you push blacks ahead of any other race.. OR SMASH DOWN On whites….
The Democrats always playing the skin color game (brown and black skinned people). A Latino, who is brown skinned, is picked as a Senator, to replace Kamala, so now the black Democrats are offended? In essence, the Democrats, who always play the black / brown skinned race card, are now making it black vs. brown skinned people. So the Democrats are attacking each other, based on brown versus black skinned.
On a positive note, maybe they’ll all kill and eat each other.
HEY, there aren’t any Yetis in the senate either. It would be easier to find one of them to put in the senate, than an honest democrap of any color.
Or a true unicorn.. Or an actual dragon..
When you have the skin color obsessed democrat’s in charge…you will get racism every time! What happened to the simpler days when positions were chosen by merit.,…???
Merit is not racist.
How racist of you, to suggest we go based on merit…
You bigot.. WE need to burn heathans like you, on the alter of diversity, while chanting to our lord, ALL HAIL HYDRA! 🙂 🙂 🙂
This is what happen when you promise to please all the people all the time under the big tent of politics. Each faction has been promised something that conflicts with a promise made to another faction so the infighting begins. Black women are mad, the Latin community is elated each having been promised something mutually exclusive of the other. The governor, a politician, sees his future in the Latin faction and not with the black women. The factions will be what cripples the pery in the future as it panders to more and more diverse people.
Just as long, as you NEVER “Pander” to whites.. TO LEFTISTS< you can never pander to whites, as that is bigoted.
Just like affirmative action ,only skin color matters. Your ability to do a job is no longer necessary.
It is truly ironic that the Black Democrats who have aggressively promoted identity politics in order to advance their radical, divisive policies have discovered that identity politics is a double-edged sword. This is just another well-deserved case of poetic justice for these clueless, leftist fools.
Pity its only a metaphoric sword, and not a LITERAL ONE< cutting the heads off, all these traitors.
I think they should just give it to RuPaul. That should check enough boxes to make the average Leftist clown happy.
I’ll see your brown skin and raise you two gays and a midget.
Slicing a salami based on race has the same unfair results regardless of which end the slicing begins with. Slicing can start on one end based on excluding groups or on the other side based on including groups. When I use a bridge to cross a river, I don’t research the race or ethnicity of the engineers. The vision of the Democrats may one day change my mind.
‘I realize the replacement is also a minority but, that seat was held by a black person. It should remain a black person’s seat forever.’ Nothing racist about THAT idea…