Latinos in the Biden Administration

Celebrating NAHREP familia, cultura, politics, and grassroots action

November 19, 2020

Qué onda mi gente?!

The Holidays are here! But what in the world does that mean for this wacky year that has felt like a decade? Look familia, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. We usually gather at my parent’s house in Chino, CA, my mom cooks the turkey, I cook all of the side dishes, and my sister bakes desserts. Then, all of the tias and tios come over (my mom is the oldest of 10 and they all live in in the Inland Empire of California, imagínate!) and we end the night playing games and dancing to burn off the calories. With coronavirus cases skyrocketing and my husband and I moving into a new home next week, it’s going to be a tiny two-person Thanksgiving for us this year and I might just be inconsolable. So check in on me.

Latino representation in the new Administration and Congress

First, let’s be clear, the election is over. We are a democracy and must defend that democracy at all costs. We have a new President-elect and a new Vice President-elect. The time has started for us to roll up our sleeves and ensure that this new administration prioritizes our issues. Manos a la obra! It is time to get some work done.

Over the next two months our National Advocacy Committee agenda will be to:

  1. Ensure Latino representation in the Biden Administration.
  2. Ensure that the Biden Administration’s First 100 Day Agenda includes NAHREP’s policy priorities.

NAHREP urges Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ Senate Seat to be filled by a Latino

With Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ victory, an opportunity arises for California Governor Gavin Newsom to make history by appointing the first Latino to represent California in the U.S. Senate. Despite California being the country’s most populous Latino state, California has never had a Latino U.S. Senator. Last week NAHREP, alongside the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative and the Latino Donor Collaborative, led a broad coalition urging Governor Newsom to appoint a Latino to this position.

NAHREP urges the Biden Administration to appoint at least 5 Latino Cabinet Secretaries

Did you know that only 13 Latinos have served as Cabinet Secretaries? Latinos not only comprise 18.5% of the U.S. population but current population and economic trends underscore the fact that Latinos are the future of this country. Latinos have accounted for more than 50% of the U.S. population growth over the past decade and 1 in every 4 Americans under the age of 18, appointing at least five Latino Cabinet Secretaries would send a nod to our community that the Biden Administration understands this reality.

Let’s do a quick report card on how past administrations have done when it comes to Latino representation:

  • Most Latinos in the Cabinet: The Obama Administration and the Clinton Administration are tied. Each had 4 Latino Cabinet Secretaries. Let’s see if the Biden Administration can top that by appointing 5!
  • First Latino Cabinet Secretary: The Reagan Administration appointed the first ever Latino Cabinet Secretary by appointing Lauro Cavazos as Secretary of Education.
  • Highest Ranking Latino Cabinet Secretary: The Bush Administration appointed Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General. California Attorney General and friend of NAHREP, Xavier Becerra, would be a great candidate for U.S. Attorney General.

The Following Latinos have been floated as possible picks for Cabinet posts:

  • California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra
  • New Mexico Governor, Michele Lujan Grisham
  • DNC Chair and former Labor Secretary, Tom Perez
  • Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti
  • Former Obama Appointee, Alejandro Mayorkas
  • Nevada U.S. Senator, Catherine Cortez Masto
  • Arizona Congressman, Ruben Gallego
  • Former CEO of La Opinión, Monica Lozano
  • Long Beach Mayor, Robert Garcia

NAHREP will be sending a list of Latino leaders that we recommend to the Biden Administration Transition Team in the next few weeks.

NAHREP will work with the growingly bipartisan Congressional Hispanic Caucus to pass legislation

2021 also gives NAHREP the opportunity to strengthen our ties with Latino members of Congress. With this new election, we now have at least 50 Latino members in Congress, the most ever. 37 of them are Democrats and 14 are Republicans. As of right now, there will be at least four new Latino Republicans in Congress, but some races are yet to be called. If the 2020 election taught us anything, it is that Latinos are not monolithic. And, our NAHREP familia is representative of the diverse Latino electorate. NAHREP NAC members are both as fervently Republican as they are Democrat. Having bipartisan members and strong bipartisanship representation within Congress can serve as the path forward for our organization to play a leading role in the passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

I know some of you are traveling this weekend so please be safe everyone. Get some rest because as soon as we’re back from Thanksgiving, we have a lot of work to do. Who is with me?

About Noerena Limón

Noerena Limón is NAHREP’s Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Industry Relations. Noerena heads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts on issues ranging from homeownership, housing inventory, credit access and immigration.

Prior to joining NAHREP, Noerena spent six years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and served as a political appointee under President Obama in the White House Office of Political Affairs.