"Only in America can a poor man like my dad cross the border in 1963 as a bracero to come here and meet my mother, a poor woman, farm worker, who came here to work hard, so save, to plan, to raise a family and to pay taxes and now see their son 35 years later, 40 years later, be nominated by the governor of California as their next lieutenant governor. All I can say, only in America," 42-year-old Maldonado said.
Schwarzenegger initially revealed his choice on "The Jay Leno Show" Monday.
Maldonado was picked to replace John Garamendi who vacated the position when he was elected to Congress earlier this month.
"Governor Schwarzenegger has done an outstanding job as governor of California," Maldonado said Tuesday. "We have to reform it. We have to rebuild it. He's been doing that and I look forward to continuing to help him in the office right next door to his."
This year, Maldonado voted for a tax hike which made him the subject of much criticism by his Republican colleagues.
Tuesday, Maldonado responded to the criticism by saying, "I know that some people were upset with what we did this year but we governed. We put California first."
Maldonado's appointment still needs to be confirmed by the Legislature.
If confirmed, Maldonado would become the state's first Republican lieutenant governor since 1983.
CNS contributed to this report.