Latinos recommended for the Obama cabinet

Posted on 01/23/2013 @ 11:03 AM

LULAC media coverage on Voxxi - read it here. LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes on Latino representation in Cabinet appointments.

Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez is being considered for the Secretary of Labor position in the Obama cabinet. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

As President Barack Obama seeks to fill the seats of his second-term cabinet, Latino leaders are providing the president with a list of Latinos they recommend for the Obama cabinet.

A coalition of 30 Latino groups recently joined under the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) to send Obama a letter, calling on the president to appoint three Latinos to his cabinet.

The coalition—which includes the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)—also listed in the letter 19 Latinos it “strongly” recommends for cabinet positions.

“We’ve offered up some very qualified names to the president for consideration,” Brent Wilkes, executive director of LULAC, told VOXXI. “I can’t tell you who, but I know for sure that there are some that are being actively considered for positions in the cabinet.”

Wilkes added that having Latinos appointed to the Obama cabinet would help the president “better serve the Latino community.” He explained that’s because the Latino cabinet members could help Obama understand how certain policies would impact Latinos as well as weigh in on issues important to Latinos.

Names of Latinos recommended for Obama cabinet

The list of candidates the NHLA is recommending for the Obama cabinet includes Latinos who are currently serving in the Obama administration as well as members of Congress and Latinos who have served in the private and public sectors.

Among the top Latinos who have high possibilities of being considered for the Obama cabinet is Francisco J. Sanchez, the under secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Sanchez is currently the highest-ranking Latino serving in an economic policy position and a strong candidate to be Secretary of Commerce or for the top position of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, is another Latino who has high chances of being appointed to a cabinet position. Perez, who previously served as the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, is being recommended by several Latino leaders for the Secretary of Labor position.

Also being recommended for the Secretary of Labor position is U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), who is a former labor lawyer.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has also been rumored to be a top contender for the Secretary of Transportation position. Villaraigosa will step down July 1 after serving two terms as mayor of L.A. He recently chaired the Democratic National Convention and served as a co-chair of Obama’s reelection campaign.

All four of these Latinos are included in the list of 19 Latinos recommended by the NHLA for cabinet positions. Also included in that list are Richard Carmona, former U.S. Surgeon General and former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Arizona; Cesar Conde, president of Univision Communications, Inc.; and Vilma Socorro Martinez, U.S. ambassador to Argentina.

Besides Rep. Sanchez, the members of Congress the NHLA is recommending for cabinet positions include Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-N.Y.).

Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas) is also recommended by NHLA for a cabinet position. However, Gonzalez indicated he is not interested in joining the Obama cabinet and wishes to be back home in San Antonio.

“You have to be flattered that you make any list today at that level of service to this country, but my government service is over,” he told VOXXI.

White House has met with Latino cabinet candidates

Latino leaders began calling on Obama to appoint Latinos to his cabinet soon after the resignations of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis—the only Latinos in the Obama cabinet.

In recent days, the president has announced several cabinet nominations. And on Monday, while he was at the U.S. Capitol for his inauguration, he signed the paperwork to formally nominate three new members of his cabinet. The cabinet nominations include Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, John Kerry to be Secretary of State and Jack Lew to be Secretary of the Treasury. Obama also nominated John Brennan to head the CIA.

Hector Sanchez, chair of the NHLA, noted that none of the people Obama has nominated to his cabinet are Latinos. However, Sanchez, who is also the president of LCLAA, said he is aware that the White House has consulted and had conversations with some of the “highly qualified Latinos” who the NHLA recommended for cabinet positions.

“We had some positive conversations with the White House, and we are really hoping to see movement in the right direction soon,” he told VOXXI.

Obama is expected to announce more nominations in the coming weeks. Wilkes, executive director of LULAC, said that in the meantime, he and his group would continue to push for Latino representation in the cabinet.

“Our goal is to make sure that [Obama] has a diverse cabinet that includes Latinos,” he told VOXXI.

Read it by clicking here.

LULAC Expresses Sadness over Newtown, Connecticu​t

Posted on 12/16/2012 @ 04:20 PM

December 14, 2012

Contact: Jossie Sapunar

Washington, D.C.– Today, LULAC expressed its condolences at the massive shootings that took the lives of 20 children, and 7 adults including the gunman’s mother and the gunman at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Today's massacre surpasses the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 in which 13 died and 24 were injured.

“As a mother and a grandmother it is with a heavy heart that I extend my deepest sympathies for the countless families who suffered a loss today at the hands of the gunman in Newton, Connecticut,” said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “Primarily, LULAC is a civil rights organization working to help the interests of the Latino community, but times like these transcend politics, race, and creed and today we are one community mourning together the innocent lives needlessly lost,” explained Moran.

Today’s tragic events followed other instances of violence including this week in Oregon and earlier this year in Aurora, Colorado where innocent victims like today were killed by a lone gunman.

“We also recognize that there is a very present need to explore and address these instances of extreme violence and how we as a country can come together to prevent these needless killings,” concluded Moran.

Protecting Family Unity, Strengthening Communities and Ensuring a Thriving Economy with the Contributions of Immigrants

By Brent Wilkes on 12/12/2012 @ 12:40 PM

This post is part of the Moms Rising blog carnival, “Protecting Family Unity, Strengthening Communities and Ensuring a Thriving Economy with the Contributions of Immigrants.” Be sure to visit the site and read the contributions of more than 30 Congressional, non-profit leaders, and advocates from around the country!

LULAC hosted an immigration reform rally in 2006 to galvanize our community around this important issue. We look forward to coalitions to again gain momentum to finally achieve Comprehensive Immigration Reform!

There are more similarities between the everyday American family and the immigrant family than there are differences. The immigrant family works hard for the opportunity to provide for their families; create a better future for their children, and share an equal love and respect for this country. Each immigrant has a particular story about the journey they took in order to call this country home. Some families have been waiting as long as twenty years for Congress to pass immigration reform that will afford them the same opportunities as the rest of the American citizenry. Most Latinos who voted in this election did so with the hope that Congress and the Administration would reach a compromise on immigration reform that would allow families in their community to realize their dream of becoming American citizens.

The recent presidential election showed once again that the Latino electorate is critical to winning the White House. According to exit polling done by Latino Decisions, President Obama won with 75% of the Hispanic vote while Governor Romney only received 23%. This 52 point margin decided the election in favor of the President putting him over the top with the popular vote and the Electoral College. Eligible voters registered and voted in unprecedented numbers. Before the election, LULAC and our partners had predicted that a record 12 million Latino voters would cast their ballots in the 2012 election and due to grassroots efforts to register Latino voters, our prediction came true. This trajectory only indicates that our numbers will continue to grow as we expect even higher turnouts in 2016.

The Latino community cares about the same issues as the rest of the country but Comprehensive Immigration Reform remains a critical issue as 65% of voters support a pathway to citizenship.

In an effort to galvanize the momentum around Comprehensive Immigration Reform, LULAC launched the “I Voted For Immigration Reform” campaign focused on bringing the voice of the community to Congress. For the next couple of weeks, LULAC will work with its vast councils and membership to send “I Voted For Immigration Reform” postcards to their respective members of Congress, urging them to support this very critically needed legislation for our country. The postcard will also lay out the policy priorities for immigration reform, which includes an effective and practical immigration system that provides a pathway to citizenship; accounts for future flow; and reunites families in a manner that does not penalize sexual orientation.

We urge the community to get involved. You can help our campaign by providing your name and address so that we can send a postcard on your behalf to your respective member of Congress urging them to support this very important issue for our community. For more information you can go to

We need your help to make Comprehensive Immigration Reform a reality.

Join us at the NO MAS HAMBRE Summit on December 7 in Washington DC!

Posted on 11/26/2012 @ 04:50 PM

By Alfredo Estrada, Editor, LATINO Magazine

Each year, most of us celebrate the holiday season with our families at tables groaning with roast turkeys and stuffing, giving thanks for the privilege.

Yet last year nearly 50 million other Americans had nothing to celebrate, and went hungry. And for Latinos the figures are even grimmer. About 26.2% of Latino households faced hunger, almost twice as much as other Americans. Yet for many of us, this overwhelming health disparity remains a dark secret. Few issues impact us and our families so directly, so viscerally. It's literally a matter of life and death. But hunger in the Latino community is rarely discussed.

Why is this? We are a proud people, and the thought that we can not feed our young children and aging parents, much less ourselves, is deeply shameful. And many undocumented immigrants avoid government-supported assistance for fear of being deported. But there is another reason. Many Latinos simply don't know the facts. Clearly, Latino media has not done enough to inform our community that almost one in three of us go hungry. Yet if Latinos don't know, they can't help themselves. As for those of us who do know, unless we get involved, we can't help those less fortunate.

LATINO Magazine has addressed this lack of awareness and engagement through an initiative called NO MAS HAMBRE. Its objective is to raise awareness of hunger in our community through articles in LATINO Magazine, our website at, and our annual Summit, which brings together Latino community leaders, hunger relief experts, government officials, corporate executives, and ordinary people to develop a Latino anti-hunger agenda.

I invite you to join us at the 2012 NO MAS HAMBRE Summit, to be held on Friday, December 7, 2012 at the Capital Hilton, 1001 16th St. NW in Washington, DC. Our second annual conference starts at 9 AM with invited speakers such as Max Finberg, USDA and will continue with interactive panels and roundtable discussions throughout the day. There is a complimentary lunch at 12-1 PM and the Summit will conclude at 3:00 PM. All are welcome and there is no cost to attend. To register, please go to

I hope to see you there! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at ¡Gracias!


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