March 24, 2021
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has been confirmed as the next secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Becerra, the son of Mexican immigrants, is the first Latino HHS secretary.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to mushroom, the Biden Administration’s handling of the current crisis will be closely watched across the country and around the world. Xavier Becerra is an excellent choice to head HHS,” said California Medical Association (CMA) President Peter N. Bretan, Jr., M.D. “As Attorney General of California, Becerra has aggressively fought to protect the Affordable Care Act, ensuring access to reproductive health services for all Californians, and advocating for underserved communities across the state and across the country.”
Becerra was appointed as California’s Attorney General to fill the position vacated when then Attorney General Kamala Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016.
“Attorney General Becerra understands the complexities of the issues facing Americans and their health care, and his passion and expertise will be an asset for the entire nation as we work together to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, protect the Affordable Care Act and expand access to high-quality health care for all Americans,” said Dr. Bretan.
Under Becerra’s leadership, the California Department of Justice has also led the charge to ensure that immigrants being held in detention centers are treated humanely and have access to health care.
Becerra has a lengthy political resume, having served one term in the state Assembly and 23 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing a district northeast of downtown Los Angeles before becoming California Attorney General. He served in House leadership as chair of the House Democratic Caucus and was on the powerful Ways and Means Committee. He was also a leader in the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Becerra was born and raised in Sacramento and went on to receive his bachelor's and law degrees from Stanford University. Becerra was also the first Latino to fill the position of California Attorney General.
Becerra's wife, Carolina Reyes, M.D., is an OB/GYN specializing in maternal-fetal medicine.