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Padilla Becomes L.A.'s Youngest Councilman

In an emotional ceremony Tuesday, 26-year-old Alex Padilla became the youngest member of the Los Angeles City Council, taking the oath of office administered by 87-year-old former Councilman Ernani Bernardi.

A teary-eyed Padilla dedicated his first term to his parents, Santos and Lupe, immigrants from Mexico. He said that his mother became a U.S. citizen two days after his election, and three years after his father took the citizenship oath.

Padilla--who represents the northeast San Fernando Valley’s 7th Council District--told the more than 100 people who attended the ceremony in City Council chambers that his parents instilled in him an appreciation of democracy and service to others. He also vowed to work to get his district a bigger share of city services.

Padilla is the youngest current member of the City Council. But at least two others have served on the council at a younger age, including Rosalind Wyman, who was 22 when she was elected in 1953.

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Attending the swearing in were 13 other City Council members and many Padilla supporters, including his former employer, state Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Sylmar). Also in attendance were many young people who were attracted to Padilla’s campaign by the story of a kid from the Pacoima barrio who went on to get an engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and return home to cut his political teeth.

Padilla delayed his swearing in ceremony until Tuesday so that a quirk in the city law would allow him to serve, if reelected, two full four-year terms, as well as the last two years remaining on the unexpired term vacated by former 7th District Councilman Richard Alarcon, who was elected to the state Senate.


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