SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday named a liberal Democratic member of Congress to be California's next attorney general, an appointment that likely will help preserve the governor's record on climate change and criminal justice changes when he departs in two years.
Brown's selection of U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra to succeed newly elected U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris also reshuffles the Latino power structure in the nation's most populous state, while ending speculation about whether the governor would appoint a caretaker or an ambitious fellow Democrat for the second-highest statewide office.
Becerra, 58, is a rising star in the party who served as a high-profile Latino surrogate for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign this year. He was widely discussed as a potential cabinet appointee if Clinton won.
But with the election of Trump and a Republican sweep of both houses of Congress, his 24-year tenure in the House is no longer as appealing. In the attorney general's position, Becerra could serve through 2018 then seek another eight years after that.
"I'm confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change," the Democratic governor said in a statement.
If confirmed as expected by the state Legislature, Becerra will be the state's chief law enforcement officer and will oversee the legal defense of California's aggressive efforts to control greenhouse gases. He'll also preside over likely skirmishes between the state's liberal lawmakers and the administration of Republican President-elect Donald Trump.
He's also likely to defend the governor's dramatic criminal justice changes, including recently approved Proposition 57 that allows for earlier paroles, said Michael Rushford, president of the conservative Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.
"The governor has done a lot of things with regards to criminal justice policy that I suspect he wants to have kept in place," Rushford said. "So I would be surprised if you were going to get an attorney general who was going to look at his policies unfavorably."
The choice also immediately adds Becerra to the long list of California Democrats who could be contenders for governor or U.S. Senate in the coming years, said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a public policy professor and political analyst at the University of Southern California.
The list already includes Lt. Gov. Gavin Newson, state Controller John Chiang, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and wealthy Democratic donor Tom Steyer.
Trump's election upended Becerra's path to influence in Washington, said Thad Kousser, chairman of the political science department at the University of California, San Diego.
"Washington, D.C., is now red territory, so if he wants to have an impact on policy, California's the place to do it," Kousser said.
The Democratic governor noted Becerra's service in Congress, in the state Legislature and as a deputy attorney general.
Becerra said in a statement that Brown had presented him with an opportunity he can't refuse.
"California right now is ahead of the country when it comes to clean energy, commonsense treatment of immigrants, real health security and so much more," Becerra said.
As Democratic caucus chairman, Becerra is the highest ranking Latino in Congress, where he has served since 1992. Brown's announcement noted that he was the first in his family to graduate from college, obtaining both bachelor of arts and law degrees from Stanford University.
Kousser noted that going to battle in the courtroom with the Trump administration over climate change and immigration will raise his profile for a possible run for governor or to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., when she decides to retire.
Becerra's replacement in his solidly Democratic district in Los Angeles would be picked via special election, and his expected departure immediately set off speculation. Former Assembly Speaker John Perez quickly announced he would seek the seat representing areas including downtown, Boyle Heights, Chinatown and Highland Park.
Becerra is likely to face easy confirmation in the Democratically controlled Legislature. Becerra was a deputy attorney general for three years before he began his political career in 1990.
The experience should help ensure a smooth transition, said Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County's top prosecutor and president of the California District Attorneys Association.
"I look forward to meeting him soon and establishing a relationship with him and the district attorneys," Wagstaffe said in a statement
AMERICA THE ADDICTED: 1 in 7 are addicted
CAUTION: GRAPHIC IMAGES!
MEXICO’S BIGGEST EXPORTS TO U.S.: Heroin, Criminals, Anchor baby breeders for 18 years of gringo-paid welfare.
1 in 7 are addicted
AMERICA’S LAST DAYS AS THE MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS’ OPEN BORDERS MARKET
THE FASTEST GROWING POLITICAL PARTY IN AMERICA IS THE MEXICAN FASCIST PARTY of LA RAZA. IT IS AN AMERICAN TAX SUPPORTED POLITICAL PARTY.
15 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT LA RAZA “THE RACE”
by Michelle Malkin
"The American Southwest seems to be slowly returning to the jurisdiction of Mexico without firing a single shot." --- EXCELSIOR --- national newspaper of Mexico
ONE OF THE MOST DISTURBING BOOKS OUT THERE ON MEXICO’S INVASION, OCCUPATION AND LOOTING of CALIFORNIA
The Shattering of the American Dream
The Shattering of the American Dream
“What we're seeing is our Congress and national leadership dismantling our laws by not enforcing them. Lawlessness becomes the norm, just like Third World corruption. Illegal aliens now have more rights and privileges than Americans. If you are an illegal alien, you can drive a car without a driver's license or insurance. You may obtain medical care without paying. You may work without paying taxes. Your children enjoy free education at the expense of taxpaying Americans.”
70% OF ILLEGALS GET WELFARE!
“According to the Centers for Immigration Studies, April '11, at least 70% of Mexican illegal alien families receive some type of welfare in the US!!! cis.org”
LOS ANGELES: Mexico’s Second Largest City, First Place for Billion Dollar Mexican Welfare, Number 1 for Mexican Murder and Western Gateway For the LA RAZA Mexican Drug Cartels
WHY ARE ILLEGALS ABOVE THE LAW?
SANCTUARY CITIES and SANCTUARY STATE of CALIFORNIA: The LA RAZA welfare state on our backs!
BUILDING THE MEXICAN CARTELS IN THE AMERICAN BURBS!
MEXIFORNIA (Formerly California) NOW UNDER NARCOMEX CONTROL
Suspected Illegal Alien Marijuana Farmers Held Workers Hostage: ICE
MEXIFORNIA.... welcomes Mexico's DRUG CARTELS... but first register to vote DEM!
THE STAGGERING COST OF AMNESTY: non-enforcement is another form of AMNESTY!
Legals to pay trillions for open borders and Mexico’s looting
Between one-quarter and one-third of the 1.5 million new arrivals in 2014 were illegal aliens, meaning that a conservative estimate is that 1,000 illegal aliens a day are moving to the United States.
LA RAZA FACISM:
Ethnic Cleansing By Mexicans Occupying California…. Where Mexico loots first!
ANTONIO “Taco Runt” VILLARAIGOSA DECLARES MEXIFORNIA’S SURRENDER TO LA RAZA SUPREMACY
“Taco Runt” is a member of the Mexican Fascist Movement of M.E.Ch.A. and a racist LA RAZA supremacist.
He is proud of the fact that he FAILED California’s State Bar test more than any other illiterate Mexican on earth and that qualifies him to operate California’s Mexican Welfare State for LA RAZA.
LA RAZA MEX ETHNIC CLEANSING IN CALIFORNIA…. of legals.