Sen. Alex Padilla, the first Latino Senator in California history, joined KNX In-Depth Wednesday afternoon to talk about his goals for his term.
He's a former city councilman who made his way up to Sacramento as Secretary of State. He's now moved on--all the way to Washington D.C. as the state's newest Senator.
There's the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine distribution and the fight over the Senate filibuster and the Trump impeachment trial.
President Joe Biden has pushed that his administration will try to protect 300 million Americans from COVID-19 by the end of the summer and boosting vaccine purchases this week.
Padilla, and Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were all sworn into office by Vice President Kamala Harris. Recently Padilla also shared a video of himself getting a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Padilla said "there's no time to waste" when it comes to COVID-19 response.
He says "it's literally a matter of life and death for far too many throughout California and throughout the country."
He said COVID-19 does not discriminate - "...red states and blue states have seen spikes over the last several of weeks, months."
He also tackled the economic impacts of the pandemic.
When it comes to his new role in D.C., he said both sides of the aisle have been helpful in welcoming him including getting around the U.S. Capitol.
"It's been a whirl wind but I think we are trying to come up to speed as quickly as we can," Padilla says.
When it comes to the impeachment trial of former President Trump, Padilla is a juror in the trial.
"I think people on both sides of the aisle have been asked if there is going to be a trial and "will you hear the facts? Will you be impartial about it?' My second week here, my second oath, [my] first last week as a member of the United States Senate and this week as a juror. What is going to be unique here is there is no secret. The incidents of Jan. 6 insurrection was broadcast live for people around the country and around the world to see. We were all witnesses to the fatal activity, the fatal rebellion of Jan. 6. To me, the evidence couldn't be clearer and I hope all my colleagues frankly recognize that and make the right decision here in the weeks ahead," he said.
Padilla gave some hope to those waiting for vaccines. He said he will keep an eye on making sure the vaccine plan and distribution process is equitable.
"I am hopeful because we have a new president. President Biden who believes in science and trusts public health experts and is already on the job to improve vaccine supply. Even the first batches that were delivered to states, including California, were far short than what was promised. Gov. Newsom was dealt a bad hand last year. How do you produce an effective distribution and vaccination plan when you can't rely on the numbers you were promised? So as we approve supply, approve distribution, I will be keeping an eye to make sure that it is as equitable of a distribution and vaccination plan as possible. If we know certain communities have been impacted more and disproportionately vulnerable, then they ought to be prioritized in receiving the vaccine," he said. "Help is on the way."