Latino Leaders to Biden: We Need Representation in Your Cabinet


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By Araceli Cruz

November 20, 2020

“Hispanics are close to 20% of Americans, but we have never been equitably represented in the Cabinet or other appointments,” NHLA, a Latino group, says.

In the past week, President-elect Joe Biden has been naming appointees to his White House staff and his Cabinet. Latino leaders and immigration advocates are reaching out to Biden’s transition team to ensure he knows of noted Latinos he should consider for a White House position. 

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), which includes members of UnidosUS, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, among others, presented their recommendations to the incoming administration. 

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“We believe there should be no fewer than five Hispanics appointed to Cabinet-level positions, to at minimum surpass the highest number of Latinos ever serving at one time in a Presidential Administration, which was four,” the letter states. “We also believe your Administration should have a strong Hispanic presence at every level, to fully reflect the diversity of our Nation’s population and within Latino communities, including gender, race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.”

Biden has, so far, named four Latinos to work under his administration including Anthony Bernal, who will serve as senior advisor to Jill Biden; Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón will be chief of staff to the first lady; Julie Chávez Rodríguez will be director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs; and Carlos Elizondo, White House Social Secretary.

The Alliance of Latinx Leadership and Policy (ALLP), a new organization of professional Latinos, said they also want Biden to enlist Latinos to his Cabinet and administration. 

“We have compiled an extensive list of esteemed Latinx professionals from all backgrounds and industries who are well-prepared to confront an array of diverse national and global challenges and are ready to serve the Biden-Harris administration on day one,” Guillermo Meneses, spokesman for the Alliance for Latinx Leadership and Policy, said to The Americano. 

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Some of the Latinos that are being considered by the Biden-Harris team, according to The Hill, include California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Pérez, Rep. Rubén Gallego (D-Ariz.), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and Mónica Lozano, the CEO of the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión. 

USA Today also reports that Lily García, former head of the National Education Association, could be considered for Education Secretary. If Biden appointed García to that post she would be the first Latina named Secretary of Education. 

“Hispanics are close to 20% of Americans, but we have never been equitably represented in the Cabinet or other appointments,” NHLA said in the letter. “Our Nation’s prosperity and well-being depend on our ability to address the full array of issues affecting all Americans, including Latino communities. Without the expertise and experience Latinos bring to our Nation’s governance, America’s government will miss an opportunity to effectively develop and implement sound policies on the issues affecting all Americans.”

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