In what promises to be a race for statewide office with a special emphasis on technology, Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) today officially entered the contest for California Secretary of State.

Padilla was named “California Legislator of the Year” by TechAmerica for 2012 for his high-profile bills meant to improve public policy related to technology, including last year’s SB 1298 to regulate self-driving cars.

Padilla’s platform for Secretary of State is to update the California voting systems and reform campaign finance.

“We should modernize our voting systems and use technology, where appropriate, to make information about our elections more accessible to voters,” Padilla said in a press release. “We must increase the transparency of campaign finance so that voters can easily determine who is funding campaigns and initiatives.”

Padilla will be running for Secretary of State against Senator Leland Yee, who represents half of San Francisco and most of San Mateo counties.

“I welcome my colleague from Pocoima to the race for Secretary of State. I look forward to this campaign and discussing with Alex ways we can modernize the office of Secretary of State, improve our elections, and bring a more transparent government to California,” said Yee in a post on his official Facebook page in response to today’s announcement by Padilla.

Padilla, 40, graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He currently serves as chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and is a member of the California Broadband Council.