San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today named Alex Padilla, state senator from Los Angeles, as chair of his campaign for governor of California.

The 36-year-old Padilla, D-Pacoima, represents the 20th District of California in the San Fernando Valley.

In a statement today, Newsom called Padilla, who was elected to the Los Angeles City Council at age 26 and the state Senate in 2006, “one of the brightest and most accomplished rising political stars.”

“His background, his experience and his ideas will be an incredible asset to this campaign,” Newsom said.

Padilla, a child of Mexican immigrants, graduated MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering, according to his office. He later became the youngest person and first Latino to serve as City Council president in Los Angeles. As senator, he was named as chair of the Energy Committee.

Padilla said in the statement that Newsom “reflects a new generation of leadership.”
“Gavin’s politics reflect the majority of our state: socially progressive, fiscally responsible, environmentally active and unequivocally dedicated to the promise of quality public education and health care for everyone,” Padilla said.

Newsom’s chief rival for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010 is believed to be Attorney General Jerry Brown, also former governor and Oakland mayor, though Brown has yet to officially announce his candidacy.

Another potential Democratic candidate, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled himself out of the running for governor in June.

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