Rep. Xavier Becerra. Photo courtesy House Democratic Caucus

Rep. Xavier Becerra was appointed as California’s next attorney general Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown to succeed fellow Democrat Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last month.

Becerra has represented his Los Angeles County district in Congress since 1993. Prior to that he was an Assemblyman and a deputy state attorney general. He is also chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant — in the state Legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general,” Brown said. “I’m confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”

Said Becerra: “Governor Brown has presented me with an opportunity I cannot refuse — to serve as attorney general of my home state. 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.”

If confirmed by the state Senate and Assembly — as expected — Becerra will serve the final two years of Harris’ term and become California’s first Hispanic attorney general. His congressional seat would be filled by a special election.

Former Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, whose district included parts of Becerra’s congressional district, announced his intention to run for the seat Thursday.

“I’m proud to have played a role in enacting some of the most impactful legislation in the country to help poor and working class families, as well as the middle class on issues from college affordability to job training to public education, environmental justice, equality and more,” Perez said.

“I’m running for Congress to take these California values and our state’s visionary approach to the national level.”

Perez is currently a University of California regent.

— City News Service

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