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Letters to the Editor: Finally, an Angeleno in the U.S. Senate. Alex Padilla is an inspired choice

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla visits the Dodger Stadium Vote Center on Sept. 24.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, shown at the Dodger Stadium Vote Center on Sept. 24, was picked by Gov. Gavin Newsom to replace Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In the mid-1990s, I was running a nonprofit legal aid organization with an office in the San Fernando Valley. Tony Cardenas was running for a seat in the state Assembly. We operated an office in his district and he was very interested in learning more about what we did for his low-income constituents. He sent a young man, seemingly barely into his 20s, to meet with our staff. (“Alex Padilla to become California’s first Latino U.S. senator, replacing Kamala Harris,” Dec. 22)

We had an excellent meeting with this young man, who asked incisive and important questions, listened carefully and was genuinely interested in the services we provided and the impact our work was having on the community. When the meeting ended, the first thing we all talked about was not how much we appreciated Cardenas’ interest in our organization and the client population we served (although we certainly were very appreciative), but rather the young man that had been sent to meet us.

We were bowled over by his poise, intelligence and commitment. We all agreed that he was someone with an incredible future, and that we all would be wise to keep our eyes on him and his career. This was someone who will have a big impact on our community, we thought.

That young man was Alex Padilla, now California’s senator-designate. We were not particularly insightful or adept at judging character; Padilla was just that impressive. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who appointed him to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ seat, seems to agree.

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David A. Lash, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: I am thrilled to see California Secretary of State Alex Padilla named as Harris’ successor. It is past time for California to have someone of Mexican descent in the U.S. Senate.

Padilla has proved himself many times while strategically building a political career. And of course, it was no small feat for him to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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I congratulate Newsom on his choice.

Linda Pulliam, Williams, Calif.

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To the editor: I am so excited to learn that California’s next U.S. senator will be Padilla, a quintessential American success story.

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Padilla rose from San Fernando High School to MIT, and from the the Los Angeles City Council to Sacramento and now Washington. Choosing a deserving Latino and Southern California native like Padilla to fill out Harris’ term was a shrewd and well-timed move on Newsom’s part.

With his intellect and leadership qualities, Padilla will be no back-bencher. He will represent us Californians very well.

Harold N. Bass, Porter Ranch

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To the editor: Given her effectiveness, I’m inclined to take Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) at her word when she says, “I don’t feel my cognitive abilities have diminished.”

On her behalf, columnist George Skelton makes the point that a Feinstein resignation would result in Newsom having the power to nominate two senators. I don’t object to that possibility, nor do I want to address the gender and age biases undoubtedly at play in calls for her resignation.

What I do find troubling is the idea that Democrats would in effect be “canceling” Feinstein because of her moderate views and conciliatory behavior toward Republicans. I personally lean more toward the positions of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), but I am wary of Democrats demanding that all party members think and behave in lockstep.

Laura Owen, Pacific Palisades

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To the editor: Two years ago, by more than 1 million votes, California reelected an 85-year-old woman to represent them in the U.S. Senate for another six years. Now, an argument is being made that Feinstein should step down.

I say let her continue her work in the Senate, as the people have spoken. She continues to be effective even in this extremely partisan government body.

By example, she can mentor Padilla, who will need to build relationships on a bipartisan basis.

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Kathleen Werner, Goleta, Calif.


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