Xavier Becerra at a Democratic Party event in 2018. Courtesy of his office

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra to serve as the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, according to multiple media reports on Sunday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Becerra would be responsible for managing the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and other health care issues, including potential changes to the Affordable Care Act after President Trump leaves office.

Becerra, 62, is a Stanford University law graduate who served 12 terms in the House representing Los Angeles before being appointed California attorney general by former Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016 to succeed Kamala Harris.

During the Trump administration, Becerra led other state attorneys general in multiple challenges to President Trump’s right-wing measures on immigration, health care and the environment.

Becerra would be the second Latino from California to be nominated to a cabinet position in the Biden administration. The first was Los Angeles attorney Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

“Biden is living up to his commitment to make the cabinet a reflection of diversity,” said Robert Garcia, mayor of Long Beach, California, and a longtime ally of Becerra and Biden.

Garcia said Becerra “has a strong record on healthcare but I think it goes beyond that. The president-elect selected someone with the highest levels of integrity and intellect.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.