SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Politicians across the state congratulated California Attorney General Xavier Becerra after news broke that President-elect Joe Biden selected the Sacramento native as his nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services amid a surging coronavirus pandemic.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, who would be tasked with appointing a new attorney general if Biden’s pick appointment is confirmed, wrote a tweet to Becerra, who will be the first Latino to head the department.

“You’ve spent your entire career fighting for equality and justice,” Newsom wrote. “You’ve spent the last four [years] defending the #ACA. Now, you’ll help lead our nation toward quality, affordable healthcare for ALL — and continue to make CA proud!”

Becerra, 62, is a Sacramento native and C.K. McClatchy High School graduate who was previously a member of Congress for 12 terms before becoming attorney general. Becerra would take over for Health and Human Services at a time of crisis, as the nation is battling a surge in coronavirus cases. One million Americans have tested positive for the virus in just the past five days.

Secretary of State of California Alex Padilla said Becerra will “reverse the damage” done to the Department of Health and Human Services by the Trump administration.

“Americans can rest easier knowing we have a leader for equality and health care access in @XavierBecerra,” Padilla tweeted.

California Senator Toni G. Atkins said the state’s loss is the nation’s great gain.

“@XavierBecerra is a stalwart supporter of quality, affordable health care for all and a champion of reproductive justice. @JoeBiden picked will,” Atkins tweeted.

Councilwoman and Sacramento Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby said Becerra is a “true talent” and an “excellent choice for our country.”

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) said Becerra was a strong choice for Health and Human Services secretary and acknowledged the attorney general as a champion in “defending healthcare.”

“He’s also a staunch ally to the LGBTQ community and I know he’ll work with us to ensure health equity for our community,” Wiener said.

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