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Archive for December, 2008

Earlier this week, the National Latino Congreso (NLC) presented a list of qualified Latinos to fulfill key positions in President- Elect Obama’s Cabinet to top transition team officials. The NLC applauded the selection of Governor Bill Richardson as Secretary of Commerce, but reminded the President-Elect’s team, “that the past administrations have had several 2-3 Latinos serving in top posts and others serving in top White House Posts.” As reported here last Wednesday, similar efforts were made by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which also submitted a list of possible candidates to the President-Elect. Their list included Latino members of Congress Hilda Solis (D-CA) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA), John Salazar(D-CO), Raul Grijalva(D-AZ), and Ruben Hinojosa ( D-TX).

In a press release the NLC declared, “Today, prominent Latinos are prepared with the proper experience and skill to serve President-Elect Obama at the highest levels in the Cabinet and White House.” Below, you will find the list of the individuals recommended by the NLC.

Secretary of Transportation
Honorable Fabian Nuñez
Maria Contreras-Sweet

Secretary of Interior
Honorable Raul Grijalva
Honorable Patricia Madrid

Secretary of Labor
Linda Chavez-Thompson
Honorable Linda Sanchez
Henry Solano
Tom Perez

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Honorable Nydia Velazquez
Honorable Adolfo Carrion
Honorable Manny Diaz
Nelson Diaz

Under Secretary of Education
Dr. Ana (Cha) Guzman
Francisco Garcia

Administrator of the Environment Protection Agency
Honorable Hilda Solis

US Trade Representative
Honorable Xavier Becerra

Administrator of the Small Business Administration
Gilbert Casellas

The White House, Assistant to the President in the White House Director of Faith Based Community Initiative
Andrew Hernandez

The White House, Assistant to the President for Personnel
Albert Jacquez

Justice Department, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
John Trasviña
Tom Saenz

About the NLC: The National Latino Congreso is an annual national policy and political gathering of national Latino organizations and elected officials. The event is convened by the following organizations: Southwest Voter Registration Education (SVREP), Hispanic Federation (HF), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC), National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC), William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI).

For more information please visit Latino Congreso.org

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020508_obama_chicago1The Washington Post is now reporting that, Congressman Becerra is in Chicago today to meet with President-Elect Barack Obama to discuss the job of USTR. According to knowledgeable sources, Becerra, has “clearly been thinking it over,” in recent days, but has raised concerns about leaving the House and about whether to move his family to Washington.

Washington Post

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In a letter sent to the Obama transition team late Tuesday, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus formally asked President-Elect Obama to consider a number of Hispanic legislators for his Cabinet.

The members of Congress whom the CHC is supporting include Congressman John Salazar (D-CO) for Secretary of Agriculture, Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) for Secretary of Education, Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) for Secretary of the Interior, Hilda Solis (D-CA) for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and Linda Sanchez (D-CA.) for Secretary of Labor.

As reported last week, Grijalva’s name has been floated as a possibility for Secretary of the Interior, but the others are not yet thought to be on any of Obama’s shortlists for Cabinet-level positions.

“We understand that the incoming administration will have a vast pool of talent from which to choose,” reads a portion of the letter obtained by The Hill. “The individuals we have endorsed constitute the best talent while reflecting the diversity that is so valued by President-elect Obama.”

The Obama transition team said it did not want to speculate on who might or might not fill Cabinet positions that have not been announced.

The Hill

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Latino Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) appears to be a leading candidate to become President-elect Barack Obama‘s chief trade negotiator.

If selected, Congressman Becerra would be the first Hispanic to become U.S. Trade Representative. Currently, Congressman Becerra is the highest-ranking Hispanic in Congress, serving as Vice Chairman of the Democratic Caucus.

As USTR, Becerra would negotiate directly with foreign governments to create trade agreements, resolve disputes and participate in global trade policy organizations such as the WTO (World Trade Organization). He would also meet with governments, business groups, legislators and public interest groups to gather input on trade issues and explain the president’s trade policy positions.

Congressman Becerra’s spokeswoman Fabiola Rodriguez said yesterday, “Congressman Becerra is very much looking forward to serving as the Vice Chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the 111th Congress, and we have no other announcements at this time.”

In the meantime, the prospect of Becerra leaving Congress to become U.S. Trade Representative has reopened the fight for the position of Vice Chairman. According to top Congressional aides, Democrats such as Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FLA) and Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) have already begun to make early moves for the position.

The Hill

Reuters



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TRANSITION UPDATE

It’s OFFICIAL! Bill Richardson has been nominated to serve as Secretary of Commerce

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that President-elect Barack Obama plans to introduce New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as his nominee for Secretary of Commerce on Wednesday at an 11:40 EST news conference according to Democratic officials.

Governor Richardson is the first Latino to be nominated for a top cabinet post in the Obama administration. He had been a top candidate for Secretary of State, a job that will now go to Senator Hillary Clinton.

Governor Richardson is a former Energy secretary and also served as United Nations Ambassador in the Clinton administration. Last summer, he made headlines when he endorsed Senator Obama at the height of the battle for the Democratic nomination.

Wall Street Journal

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Transition NEWS

Push for the Nation’s First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice Begins NOW

Last month, the President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Roberta Romero, wrote a letter to President- Elect Obama urging him to nominate a Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court if the opportunity arises during his administration. Below, is an excerpt from the letter:

“As you know, no person of Latino origin has ever served on the United States Supreme Court. This absence has long troubled the HNBA because of its potential to undermine trust in the legitimacy of our legal system among a large and growing segment of the American population. Moreover, it conveys an unfortunate message about the importance of Latinos in the civic life of our Nation and signals to Hispanics that American society imposes limits on our aspirations. “

Carlos Ortiz, the former President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and former chair of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund said. “It’s not just the right thing to do, but we deserve it. I can’t imagine that the next appointment will go to someone other than a Hispanic.”

According to Legal Times.com, almost every list of possible Obama nominees to the high court includes Hispanics, most notably Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. But others who are mentioned include: Judge Kim Wardlaw of the 9th Circuit (her mother was Mexican), U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo of Chicago, California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, and Democratic U.S. Senators, Ken Salazar of Colorado and Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

Legal Times.com also reports that, HNBA President, Ramona Romero is forming a committee, that includes Latino activists such as Carlos Ortiz. This committee would serve to contact and aid in vetting possible candidates for a Supreme Court nomination, so that they will be prepared when the opportunity arises.

John Trasviña, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), also has hopes that President-Elect Obama will name Hispanics to appeals Courts, as well as the Supreme Court. He explained that, “Appeals courts decide a lot of immigration cases, and they also serve as training grounds for the high court. He added that, “Justices David Souter and Clarence Thomas were named to the high court after brief stints on courts of appeals.”

In her letter Romero stressed that HNBA believes that, “The presence of a Latino or Latina at the conference table could add a needed special voice to the Supreme Court’s deliberations and decisions.”

Legal Times
Wall Street Journal
Read full HNBA Letter

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