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Shirley Weber confirmed as California's First Black Secretary of State

Weber, who taught Africana Studies at San Diego State University for more than four decades, will be the first Black person to serve in the role.
Credit: Photo by Anne Wernikoff
Assemblymember Shirley Weber gives a press conference in the capitol following the passage of her bill AB 392 which would limit the use of deadly force by police in California on July 8, 2019.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The California State Senate confirmed Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, as Secretary of State Thursday in a 29-0 floor vote. The post opened when Alex Padilla, a Democrat from Pacoima, was named by Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill Kamala Harris' U.S. Senate seat when she became vice president.

James Schwab served as interim secretary of state while Weber's appointment was pending.

"Dr. King teaches us that we are at our best when we stand up in service of others and I am humbled to be able to continue to stand up for Californians as Secretary of State," Weber said. "I thank the governor for his nomination, the state senators and the Assembly members who voted to confirm my appointment, and the Californians who expressed their faith in my ability to assume this critical office. I look forward to lifting up and defending our democratic values of inclusivity and participation in this new role."

Weber, who taught Africana Studies at San Diego State University for more than four decades and was first elected to the Assembly in 2012, chaired the Assembly Budget Committee and the Assembly Committee on Elections. She will be the first Black person to serve in the role.

Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego, characterized Weber as a principled leader.

"Dr. Weber's appointment makes history, but I believe that as Secretary of State, Shirley Weber will continue to make history, especially in ensuring California's leadership on voting rights and voter participation," said Atkins, who also chairs the Senate Rules Committee.

"It's no surprise that we have learned so much from Dr. Weber over the years, given her career as a college professor -- now, we once again will get to learn from her actions as she leads this critical office, and protects our most sacred democratic process," Atkins said. "This is a proud day for California."

San Diego Mayor and former Assemblyman Todd Gloria offered his congratulations.

"Dr. Weber has been a fearless fighter for the people of California and the moral conscience of the legislature for years," Gloria said. "As our new Secretary of State, I have every confidence she will move our state to be more equitable and just for all of us."

No date has been set for the special election to fill the Weber's 79th District seat, but it is likely to be in spring of this year.

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