When he is sworn in Monday as California secretary of state, Alex Padilla, a former two-term state senator and possible candidate for higher office, will assume one of the most-maligned posts in state government. The secretary of state’s campaign-finance disclosure system is old and confusing, businesses complain about filing delays and a federally required computerized voter registration list is years behind schedule, contributing to a national survey recently ranking California second-to-last in election administration. Padilla, a Democrat from Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, said fixing all three will be early priorities after he takes office. “Coming in, I know there’s a lot that I want to help get accomplished and pushed forward. That’s the approach, the urgency I will bring,” said Padilla, who recently completed two terms in the state Senate and is regularly mentioned as a possible future contender for governor or U.S. Senate.
An opportunity for another office could quickly present itself. U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer is expected to announce soon whether she will run for re-election in 2016. Padilla, who shares a political consultant with Boxer, has not ruled anything out but suggested in a recent interview that he would pass on any vacancy.
“I’ve worked my butt off for two years to get elected to this position. I’m looking forward to getting to work,” Padilla said. He also has eventful days ahead on the home front – his wife is due in January with the couple’s third child.