Democratic Los Angeles Congressman Xavier Becerra today cleared the first hurdle to becoming California's next attorney general.
A state Assembly committee controlled by Democrats voted six-to-three to support him. Becerra would replace Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Becerra told committee members he wants to work with the state legislature.
"I hope you'll find me as someone who will listen," said Becerra. "More than that, I'm ready to do stuff. I'm probably on the downside of my life and certainly of my career in public service. And I intended to make sure I do something with it."
Becerra - who turns 59 later this month - is the first in his family to graduate from college. His mother was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. after marrying his father.
"I understand exactly what my parents made possible for me," said Becerra. "And what my wife and three daughters have put up with. And so I want you to know that I take this very seriously. I look forward to working with you because each and everyone one of you can make a difference for this state and for our country. And I hope to partner with you so we can get some stuff done."
Republicans on the panel questioned Becerra on how he would work with law enforcement to curb crime. All three Republicans on the nine-member committee voted "not to confirm." Becerra promised to vigorously defend California laws from federal interference.
Becerra will now be considered by the full Assembly chamber. The Senate is also scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing.