Dinner and Talk with:
Senator Alex Padilla, CA
Pls join us for Dinner and Talk as the Honorable Alex Padilla, Senator for the State of California shares stories about his journey as a Latino from San Fernando Valley in California to MIT, and ultimately to the corridors of power in Washington, DC.
He will identify the key experiences in his life that motivated him to pursue a career in politics -- from Los Angeles where he was the youngest ever President of the City Council, to becoming California's Secretary of State, and now one of California's US Senators. He will touch on how his science and technology training at MIT helped him through his political career.
The event will be held in the elegant and historic Kennedy Senate Caucus room in the Russel Building.
Dinner will be a three-course hot buffet.
***ColumbiaDC members get 20% off! Please email to get your discount code in advance.***
Parking: Please see the map (Russel Building shown in red with an arrow). The closest parking to the building can be found at Union Station. Guests are recommended to take a rideshare or Metro to the event. Guests should enter the Russell Building through the Delaware Avenue Door which is located on Delaware Ave. between Constitution Ave. and C St. NE. Once in the building, guests should head to the third floor for the Kennedy Caucus Room.
Mass transit: Union Station (Red Line), and The Capitol South (Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines)
This event is run by the MIT Club of Washington, DC
Hon. Alex Padilla, the proud son of immigrants from Mexico, has dedicated his career to finding solutions to the toughest challenges and fighting for communities that are too often left out and left behind. Alex is a lifelong Californian; he was born and raised in the proud, working-class community of Pacoima, in the San Fernando Valley. Alex’s parents immigrated to LA from different parts of Mexico in the 1960s.
Alex’s parents had little formal education, but they shared a strong work ethic and big dreams. For forty years, Alex’s father worked as a short order cook in various Los Angeles diners. For the same forty years, his mom worked cleaning houses. They instilled in Alex, his sister, and his brother the importance of getting a good education as well as the value of service to others. Alex attended LA public schools and graduated from San Fernando High School. While his first love was baseball, he also excelled in math and science. With the encouragement of teachers, he applied and was accepted to MIT where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.
After graduating from MIT, Alex returned home eager to begin his career. However, a rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment in California at the time drew Alex towards politics. In 1994, Alex joined protests against California’s Proposition 187, which sought to deny public benefits to immigrants. He went on to manage political campaigns for several legislative candidates and served as a field representative for Senator Dianne Feinstein.
In 1999, at the age of 26, Alex was elected to the LA City Council to represent the district where he grew up. In 2001, just two years later, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as President of the City Council —the youngest person in city history and the first Latino in over 100 years to hold the position.
In 2006, Alex was elected to California’s State Senate. For six years, he served as Chair of the State Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Communications, where he was instrumental in developing California’s renewable energy and climate policies — among the most ambitious in the world — as well as expanding access to broadband and modernizing California’s electrical grid.
In 2014, Alex was elected California Secretary of State, the first Latino in state history to serve in the office. As Secretary of State, he worked to make elections more accessible and inclusive while protecting the integrity of voting systems.
In January 2021, Alex was appointed to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy created by the election of Vice President Harris. In November, 2022, Alex was elected to a full six-year term. Alex’s top priority upon entering the U.S. Senate has been to address the COVID-19 pandemic and deliver equitable economic relief for working families and communities across California. Since being sworn in to office, Padilla has established himself as a champion of voting rights, climate action, and ensuring everyone has a fair shot at the American dream.
Alex is the first Latino to chair the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety. His first bill, the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act, seeks to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who served as government-recognized essential workers in key sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is also a member of the Senate Committees on Budget; Environment and Public Works; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Judiciary; and Rules. Alex lives in the San Fernando Valley with his wife, Angela, and their three sons, Roman, Alex, and Diego.