SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — California State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) has been elected President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). Padilla was elected during the group’s 29th Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida this past weekend. NALEO represents more than 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials throughout the United States.

“I am humbled and honored that my colleagues have chosen me to lead this organization during such an exciting and historic time for our community,” said newly elected NALEO President Alex Padilla. “I thank President Sylvia Garcia for her tireless efforts on behalf of the organization. I look forward to working with her and the rest of our membership as the Latino community prepares to play a decisive role this November.”

Padilla is the first Californian to serve as President of the Board of NALEO since the late California Congressman Edward R. Roybal, who founded NALEO. Congressman Roybal also founded the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Born to immigrant parents from Mexico, Padilla went on to graduate from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was elected to the Los Angeles City Council at the age of 26 and elected President of the council at the age of 28, becoming the first Latino to serve in that role. He would later become the first Latino President of the League of California Cities. In 2006, he was elected to the California State Senate, where today he serves as Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. As a Senator he represents the more than 900,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District which includes most of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. He maintains close ties to Massachusetts as a member of the board of MIT.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) and the NALEO Educational Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization, facilitate the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service. The NALEO Educational Fund is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization established in 1981, whose mission is to carry out programs that integrate Latinos fully into American political society, provide professional development opportunities and technical assistance to the nation’s 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials, and monitor and conduct advocacy on issues important to the Latino community.