California Secretary of State Alex Padilla was on campus Friday, April
29, 2016, to share his story with Village Christian students and emphasize
the importance of exercising their civic rights.
“I’m here to urge you to register to vote,” Padilla said.
“It’s how we determine the future of our school, our city,
and our country.”
The Pacoima native conducted two presentations – one to fourth grade
students and one to high school seniors, who were also give the opportunity
to register to vote afterward.
Each session included a Q&A with students, giving Padilla the opportunity
to share more of his personal experiences as well as provide insight into
his positions on various issues.
“All the jobs I’ve had are about helping people,” he
told the elementary students. “I especially like visiting schools.
When I get to talk to young people, I love to talk to you about why it’s
important to get involved in your community and vote. I know you are going
to make great decisions.”
The VCS fourth graders asked questions covering a wide variety of topics,
including meeting the president, running campaigns, and working with the
governor. They also learned nuances about the California state seal and
Padilla’s role as Secretary of State.
After a brief break, it was the high schoolers’ turn, and the questions
honed in on more hot-button issues.
Students sought clarity on the Secretary’s voting record during his
eight years in the State Senate. Questions included his positions on the
minimum wage, high-speed rail, and election reform.
Senior Ryall Rivera asked Padilla, “Mr. Secretary, in 2011, while
a member of the State Senate, you voted YES on a bill that allows colleges
to take race and ethnicity into consideration when deciding which students
to accept, effectively legalizing affirmative action for another generation
of young people. How is this not a form of reverse discrimination in the
Another asked Padilla to enumerate the ways he plans to ensure clear and
mistake-free voting systems throughout the state.
“It is important to vote, but it is also important to be informed,”
Padilla said. “I can tell you’ve done your homework,”
he said in complimenting the seniors.
Currently in his first term as California’s Secretary of State, Padilla
also served as a State Senator in Sacramento and as a Los Angeles City
Councilman. The MIT graduate worked as an engineer for Hughes Aircraft
before entering public policy as a staff member for U.S. Senator Dianne
Feinstein and then-Assemblyman Tony Cardenas.
“I am grateful that the Secretary came to give our students a first-hand
glimpse into state government,” said Head of School Tom Konjoyan.
“We want our students to make a difference in their communities
and country. If one student was inspired to run for public office or registered
to vote, then it was a successful day.”