Hon. Alex Padilla
California Secretary of State
Alex Padilla was sworn in as California Secretary of State on January 5, 2015 becoming the first-ever Latino elected to the position. He is committed to modernizing the office, increasing voter registration and participation, and strengthening voting rights.
A national leader on protecting voter privacy, Secretary Padilla was the first secretary of state to refuse the White House’s unprecedented request to obtain the personal data of every voter through its troubled Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Believing the Commission’s efforts were a pretext to enacting voter suppression measures, the Secretary challenged the Commission’s agenda and appointees,many of whom had well-documented histories of supporting restrictive voting policies that make it harder for eligible Americans to vote. Several secretaries of state agreed and advocates sued. The commission was disbanded in 2018.
In 2016, Secretary Padilla oversaw the state’s historic General Election. Working with statewide partners, the Secretary helped add upwards of one million registered voters to the rolls. More than 19.4 million Californians were registered and more than 14.6 million cast ballots on Election Day – both state records. To expand voting rights to more Californians, in 2015, the Secretary sponsored legislation to establish vote centers, expand early voting and implement same-day conditional voter registration through the Voter’s Choice Act. He also sponsored the New Motor Voter Act, which will eventually register to vote every eligible California citizen who goes to a DMV office to get a driver’s license or renew one, potentially registering millions.
Making it easier to do business in California, the Secretary is automating and digitizing business functions within his office. His new Bizfile California portal is helping hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs file important business documents with the state online.
Padilla’s parents emigrated from Mexico and raised their family in the working class community of Pacoima, California. Padilla attended local public schools and went onto graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
In 1999, at the age of 26, Padilla was elected to the Los Angeles City Council to represent the same east San Fernando Valley community where he grew up. In 2001, his colleagues elected him to the first of three terms as Council President, becoming the youngest member and the first Latino to serve in this capacity.
Chief Public Policy Officer, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund
Rosalind Gold is the Chief Public Policy Officer with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, where she has worked for three decades on policy analysis and research for the organization’s naturalization and Latino civic engagement efforts. Ms. Gold coordinates the research for several of the Fund’s publications, including its Directory of Latino Elected Officials, the biennial Latino Election Handbook, and the Latino Election Profiles. She currently serves on the Board of the Directors of the National Institute on Money in State Politics, and as Chair of the Future of California Elections Board of Advisors. Ms. Gold received her law degree from Harvard Law School and Bachelor’s Degree from Pomona College.