Four years ago, soon-to-be former President Donald Trump began his administration without Latino representation in his Cabinet, but this administration promises a more diverse future. While some cabinet appointees have been confirmed already, most are still waiting.
One of the most salient Latino appointments to Biden’s Cabinet is the son of Puerto Rican immigrants, Miguel Cardona as Secretary of Education.
Cardona is currently the education commissioner for the state of Connecticut and a former teacher. Cardona was appointed after advocacy groups urged the former vice president to appoint Hispanic Americans to senior roles.
Besides Cardona, other nominee Latinos are Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security and Xavier Becerra to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
Set to be the first Latino to head homeland security, Cuban-born Alejandro Mayorkas is a former deputy secretary of DHS who will be tasked with rebuilding an agency that carried President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policy, including family separations at the US-Mexico border.
Expected to lead HHS in a crucial fight against COVID-19, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is the son of Mexican immigrants and the first in his family to graduate from college. He was a 24-year member of Congress before taking the attorney general post.
Last Tuesday, other important appointments that included more Latinos to Biden’s Cabinet were announced, among them, Texas’ Emmy Ruiz, Cristóbal J. Alex and Adrian Saenz for high-profile roles in the Biden administration.
Ruiz, an Austin-based political consultant and daughter of Mexican immigrants, was appointed director of political strategy and outreach.
According to the Texas Tribune, she is a much sought-after Democratic consultant who served in pivotal roles in President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for president and on Vice President Kamala Harris’ 2019 bid for the Democratic nomination for president.
“My immigrant father couldn’t make it to Election Day but I know he is watching and proud of our country and his son,” tweeted Cristobal Alex on Tuesday.
Appointed Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Alex served as Senior Advisor to President Joe Biden on the Biden-Harris Campaign and prior to his role on the campaign, he served as the founding President of the Latino Victory Fund.
The third Latino appointee was Adrian Saenz as Deputy Director of the Office of Public Engagement.
Saenz was an advisor for Latino paid media and mail on the Biden-Harris campaign and he previously served as Special Assistant to the President, Deputy Director and Senior Advisor in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and on the on the White House Ebola response team
According NBC News, exit polls showed that 66 percent of Latinos voted for Biden, which was vital to his coalition of voters that gave him the victory and helped him flip Arizona and hold on to Nevada.
Biden said at an event to introduce Cardona in Wilmington that his “historic cabinet” would have more people of color than any in U.S. history, as well as the most women and the nation’s first openly gay cabinet member in Pete Buttigieg and the first trans appointee in Dr. Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of Health and Human Services.
“It’s a cabinet that looks like America” said Biden.