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Democracy & Voting Rights

There’s No Playbook for What Alex Padilla Is Trying to Do California’s new senator, who filled Kamala Harris’s seat, is hoping to speak for his fellow Latinos. That won’t be easy.

“Because of his experience as California secretary of state, he knows the voting-rights history of this country and the efforts to disenfranchise people. Then, by virtue of having been to an East Coast school, he’s been exposed to [other Latino groups], and he needs to continue to build bridges to Puerto Ricans and Cubans and Dominicans and other Latinos,” says Laura Gómez, a Chicana scholar and professor at UCLA’s law school.