Alex Padilla has only been in the U.S. Senate for four months, but California’s first Latino senator is already embroiled in some of the most contentious issues in Congress, from water rights and infrastructure to immigration reform and clean energy.

Appointed in January by Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill out the Senate term of Vice President Kamala Harris, Padilla faces an election next year.

On the latest episode of the “California State of Mind” podcast, Padilla says California’s energy grid has capacity to meet growing demand as summer approaches — but that doesn’t remove the need to address climate change.

“The electric grid is prepared to handle the increased load,” Padilla said. “It’s not a question of whether the grid is ready or not. It’s, ‘Can our planet take it otherwise?’”

On immigration reforms, Padilla said the 2013 Senate immigration bill that passed in the Senate, 68-32, is “a place to start working from.”

Padilla believes that the slim majorities in Congress are enough for Democrats to revive elements of that immigration bill, such as providing a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants and clearing the backlog of immigration applications.

“The timing is right to make significant progress,” Padilla said.

CalMatters is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news site focused on statewide policy.

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