With former California Attorney General Kamala Harris officially sworn in as the state's newest Senator, Governor Jerry Brown has moved to fill her vacant role by formally nominating Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) for the AG position. CBS 5 reports that Becerra, who represented portions of Los Angeles in the US House of Representatives for 24 years, is a vocal critic of president-elect Donald Trump and has pledged to defend California against the Republican onslaught.
Although state officials have 90 days to confirm Becerra, it is widely believed that the process will be a smooth one. The LA Times reports that his first confirmation hearing is scheduled for January 10.
“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant — in the state Legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general,” Governor Brown said in a statement last month. “I’m confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”
Global climate change is not the only threat Becerra is gearing up to fight, and the Congressman issued such a warning to the Republican-controlled House and Senate. “We have policies in place that probably won’t pass at the federal level for another five, 10, 15 years,” Becerra said in a statement picked up by The Sacramento Bee. “If you want to take on a forward-leaning state that is prepared to defend its rights and interests, then come at us.”
"We're always ahead of the rest of the pack and we should be prepared to defend that," The AP quotes him as adding.
Becerra won reelection to Congress just this past November, and as such a special election will need to be held to replace him. That could happen as soon as this spring, although the timing is not locked down. In the meantime, Becerra is preparing for the work ahead.
"Governor Brown has presented me with an opportunity I cannot refuse — to serve as Attorney General of my home state," he wrote in a statement last month. "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."
Becerra has a 23-year record in the House of Representatives, representing California's 34th District from 1993 to 2003, and again from 2013 to the present, with a ten-year stint in between representing the Inland Empire's 31st District. Part of the reason for the change was redistricting that occurred in 2012. In 2001, Becerra also ran for mayor of Los Angeles, but did not make it past the primary. Governor Jerry Brown picked Becerra for the role on December 1, but that only became official with today's nomination.