California Senate confirms Democrat Becerra as attorney general

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By Sharon Bernstein | SACRAMENTO, Calif.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. The California Senate on
Monday confirmed U.S. Congressman Xavier Becerra as attorney
general, positioning the majority-Democrat state to challenge
conservative policies of new Republican President Donald Trump.

Becerra, who represented Los Angeles for 24 years in
Congress, was approved by a party line votes of 26 to 9, with
Democrats heavily in favor and Republicans arguing that the
state should give the new administration a chance rather than
picking fights. He will replace former California Attorney
General Kamala Harris, a Democrat who was elected to the U.S.
Senate in November.

“It’s a role to defend the progress and the values of the
people of California,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon
said of Becerra’s new job in an interview after the vote on
Monday. “These are extraordinary times and require extraordinary

Becerra, 58, was nominated for the position by Democratic
Governor Jerry Brown shortly after Trump’s election.

A Stanford-trained attorney who was first elected to
Congress in 1993, Becerra is viewed as a reliable progressive
with the savvy to navigate the halls of Congress as well as the
nation’s courtrooms.

“I couldn’t ask for a better job,” said Becerra, to be sworn
in by Brown on Tuesday. “It is humbling and exciting to assume
responsibility for vigorously advancing the forward-leaning
values that make California unique among the many states.”

Becerra learned through his long Congressional career to
work both sides of the aisle, and he made sure to meet with
legislative Republicans before his confirmation hearings began
this month.

But while the legislature’s minority GOP members made a
point to say they liked and respected Becerra, most spoke
against his nomination.

“Instead of acting like we’re going to be defiant, I’d like
to see us extending an olive branch” to the new administration,
said state Senator John Moorlach, a Republican who represents
part of Orange County south of Los Angeles.

In addition to naming Becerra attorney general, the
legislature also hired the law firm of former U.S. Attorney
General Eric Holder, an Obama appointee, to represent them in
cases and negotiations involving the new administration and
Republican-controlled Congress.

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