California Gov. Jerry Brown has chosen U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra to succeed Kamala Harris as the state's attorney general.
Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate last month.
“This is one of the most important stories of 2016. Despite the loss at the top of the ticket, the silver lining is Latino voters turning out in record numbers – perhaps 13 to 14 million voters, 20% of them new voters – and we’re going to want to keep them engaged and involved in the political process – with faces that look like them," Cristóbal J. Alex, President of the Latino Victory Project.
Becerra, who is the highest-ranking Latino in Congress, would be the state's first Hispanic attorney general.
"Governor Brown has presented me with an opportunity I cannot refuse — to serve as attorney general of my home state,” Becerra said in a statement. “As a former deputy attorney general, I relished the chance to be our state's chief law enforcement officer – to protect consumers, advance criminal justice reform and, of course, keep our families safe.
The statement went on, "I have accepted Governor Brown's nomination. I never thought as a child that I’d have the privilege to even walk through the halls of Congress, let alone travel to Washington. I’m eternally grateful to my family and constituents and my colleagues, from Leader Nancy Pelosi to our newest members, whose support continues to energize me every day."
Becerra is reaching the end of his term limit as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and was vying to become the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, overseeing taxation, an issue President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on, and likely to be a battleground issue when he assumes office. Still, Becerra has served in Congress since 1992, and he hasn't been shy about claiming that he's been blocked from Democratic leadership posts.
Brown announced the choice Thursday, noting Becerra's service not only in U.S. Congress but in the state legislature and as a deputy attorney general.
The nomination is subject to confirmation by the state assembly and senate. It will be submitted officially after Harris resigns.
"We see Becerra as one of our top political stars in the nation. He was a top surrogate, fighting for DREAMers and immigration and can now continue to be a champion for us in California as attorney general," Alex told FNL.
Becerra was considered a possible choice as Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate during the campaign.
“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant — in the state legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general,” Brown said in a statement. “I'm confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”
The office of attorney general is second only to the governor in terms of power, with the ability to file broad legal action and defend California law.
"My job everyday as a member of Congress is to fight for working families like the one I grew up in. As the son of immigrants, I have never let this purpose escape my work, and I've served to this end relentlessly,” Becerra said in his statement.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.
Rebekah Sager is a writer and editor for FoxNews.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @rebekah_sager