State Attorney General Xavier Becerra wants California to continue to be the ‘beacon’ to the rest of the country.
“As public servants we need to engage and earn the trust of the people we serve and we have to do our work with determination,” said Becerra during his inaugural address on Jan. 7.
Becerra was sworn into office during an inaugural ceremony at the Secretary of State Auditorium.
Becerra said the state is blessed to have leaders of “this caliber” who not only have the interest of the state in mind but also demonstrated that get things done as he spoke about state Senate President Pro-Tempore Toni Atkins.
“That is exactly what we need right now. Because we have to continue to be that beacon and demonstrate to the rest of the county that there is some place in America that can get things done,” Becerra said.
As he took oath, Becerra was surrounded by family members, including his wife and daughters.
“I am thrilled to be part of the Department of Justice now. It is a team. But reality for me is that team starts first and foremost for me at home,” Becerra said, adding that his wife Carolina is his north star, his “tierra firme.”
Becerra also thanked his parents Manuel and María Teresa Becerra, who attended the ceremony.
Becerra also said that his “official family” the team at the Department of Justice is dedicated and flat-out professionals who “believe in their mission.”
“And our mission is justice, enforcing the law, protecting you, our values and our resources,” Becerra said, adding that the California Department of Justice if by none, “the finest Department of Justice in the land.”
Adding that if people wanted proof, they could see their track record since he became Attorney General in 2016, giving several examples including, taking Valero, one of the largest oil companies in America, to court to stop it from controlling the price of gasoline and being the only distributor protecting consumers who otherwise would have to pay higher gasoline prices.
“We stepped in; we beat Valero in court,” Becerra said.
Another example was taking down one of the largest online traffickers of sex in the world, Becerra said, adding that that online website is history.
Becerra said the department has kept busy keeping the “dysfunction and insanity in Washington, D.C from affecting California.”
Becerra said the state won an injunction in court which stop the Trump administration in its attempts to limit women’s right to health care under the Affordable Care Act and that applies to “everyone in California.”
Becerra said they also stopped Trump administration from discriminating against transgender Americans who wish to “patriotically serve in our military,” and the state department of justice also won the injunction to save the DACA program from termination, with one in four dreamers living in California depending on DACA, etc.
“Theses are a few of the 45 actions we have taken in two years to defend California from the over reach of the Federal Government to protect our values, our resources and the 40 million people of our great state,” Becerra said.
Becerra said they are not done and have many thing left to do, including “leading a coalition of 17 states in the fight to protect the Affordable Care Act. Now we are in the appellate court. We are leading the legal fight to protect our nation’s clean car standards from federal dismantling” among many other fights to protect the people of California.
Becerra said last year he established the Department of Justice’s healthcare strike force and the environmental justice bureau.
“Today, the strike force is leading the way in a lawsuit against the largest healthcare system in northern California for illegally driving up prices that patients must pay for their care,” Becerra said, adding that the bureau has successful stepped in “several, low-income communities fighting to protect their families from land use and zoning activities that threaten their health and safety.”
Whether it’s the criminals on the streets or the con man at highest office of the land, Becerra said, “We got your back.”
“We all know we pay a premium to live, work and succeed in California,” Becerra said. “And we all know we all have to work a little hard to give all Californians the same chance to succeed.”
Becerra added that if you ask “this son of immigrants,” optimism and hard work runs in California’s DNA.
Becerra said California doesn’t dodge responsibilities “but delivers results. Rather than pollute, we choose to innovate. Our state build dreams, no walls. We break barriers, no rules. Even when we fall, we fall forward.”
Becerra said some might say that Californians are just lucky. “I say we work hard for our good luck.”
As he finished his inaugural address, Becerra pledged to make a difference and “defend you, your values, and your resources, whether you are in Calexico or Eureka.”
Becerra was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to Attorney General in 2016 and elected to office as Attorney General in November 2018 with nearly 64 percent of the votes.
Becerra is the first Latino to hold the office, and previously served 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Prior to serving in Congress, Becerra served one term as an Assemblymember from Los Ángeles County. He is a former deputy Attorney General with the Department of Justice. Becerra began his legal career in 1984 working in a legal services office representing the mentally ill.
Born in Sacramento, Becerra was the first in his family to receive a four-year degree, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University. He earned his law degree from Stanford Law School. His mother was born in Jalisco, México and immigrated to the United States after marrying his father. He is married to Dr. Carolina Reyes, and they have three daughters: Clarisa, Olivia and Natalia.