President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Julie Chávez Rodríguez, as well as three other Latinos so far, for his cabinet.
Julie Chávez Rodríguez knows the White House pretty well. With previous roles in the Obama administration, Rodríguez is a highly sought individual within the political elite. She follows the path of her grandfather, labor union icon, César Chávez, as an influential figure in politics. Rodríguez will be heading back to the White House in 2021, this time to work for Joe Biden, again.
The president-elect picked the California native to serve on his cabinet as Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Her new role begins on Inauguration Day, Jan. 21.
Rodríguez is very familiar with working alongside Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. She just wrapped up her stint as Biden’s senior advisor for Latino outreach. Before that, in 2016, she was the state director for Sen. Harris.
“So honored to continue to serve President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as we engage Governors, Mayors, local and county officials, Tribal leaders, and State legislators in our efforts to get this pandemic under control and build back better,” Rodríguez tweeted after her new appointment.
Rodríguez’s new role comes as Biden has announced several other key appointments to his cabinet, including three other Latinos so far. Anthony Bernal will serve as senior advisor to Jill Biden, Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón will be chief of staff to the first lady and Carlos Elizondo, the latest announcement, will serve as White House Social Secretary.
“Our White House senior staff is composed of individuals who demonstrate the President-elect’s commitment to building an administration that looks like America, has expertise in governing and will be ready deliver results for working families on Day One,” Biden’s transition team stated.
Teresa Romero, president of the United Farm Workers—the union group founded by Cesar Chávez, congratulated Rodriguez on her new role in Biden’s cabinet.
“President-elect Joe Biden, and our country, are lucky to have Julie Chávez Rodriguez in a senior position in the White House,” Romero said in a statement to The Americano. “Julie’s strong values, deep commitment, tremendous skill and experience will help our country build back better.”
In May, Rodríguez—a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley— was hired by the Biden campaign to lead Latino outreach in swing states, including Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. With the exception of Florida, Biden flipped Arizona, and won Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The majority of Latinos in all three states voted for Biden.
Latinos on social media praised Rodríguez’s appointment to the Biden cabinet, some noting that she will bring her grandfather’s “Sí Se Puede” mentality to the White House.
In a 2015 interview, Rodríguez said she didn’t focus on having a political life. However, serving others has always been her passion, just as it was for her grandfather and her family.
“I didn’t think about politics specifically,” Rodríguez told NBC News. “For me, the driving force was that I wanted to be of service to others. It was a value I saw lived out in my family. And it just happened that when Obama announced his first run, I was inspired and motivated by his vision for government. I saw this as a way to carry out the deeper ethic of service I was raised with.”