Latinos in the US Expect More from President Obama
'It seems like they are leaving us behind. We didn't expect it, since the president himself recognized the impact we had on the election.'
Translated By Eugenia Lucchelli
23 January 2013
Edited by Mary Young
Argentina - Argenpress - Original Article (Spanish)
The Latino community expects more of President Barack Obama today after solidly supporting his bid for another four years as the leader who will determine the future of the United States.
In spite of promised immigration reform, the group has growing expectations with regard to the composition of the cabinet, which will set the tone for the government and the political diversity of the leader's base support — in which Latinos carry an important weight, according to sectors of the community.
After making public his designations of key positions within future Secretary of State John Kerry’s team — former Republican Senator Charles Hagel as secretary of defense and Jacob Lew as secretary of the treasury — all eyes are on the new people in charge, as well as those who have already announced their exit.
Among the latter group are Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the only two Hispanics with ministerial positions in the cabinet and whose positions could remain in Latino hands, although the White House has yet to release any statement.
Those who are keeping their current positions include Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Health* Kathleen Sebelius, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Housing** Shaun Donovan.
Eric Shinseki will also start his second term as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and it's about to be confirmed that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu will all continue in their positions.
Vacancies with a similar status within the cabinet are administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, director of the Office of Management and Budget, trade representative, director of the Small Business Administration and chief of staff.
When addressing the situation, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Arturo Vargas lamented the fact that with the exit of Solis and Salazar Latinos are no longer represented in the presidential circle.
“It seems like they are leaving us behind. We didn't expect it, since the president himself recognized the impact we had on the election,” said the Director.
Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democrat Network, nevertheless put his hopes on the fact that there might be Latinos in the next round of appointments — although he didn't venture to suggest names.
The truth is that there seems to be little opportunity for women and minorities in the new team, in spite of the fact that, if only white people had voted, the current leader would have lost the election to his Republican rival Mitt Romney, who received 59 percent of that sector's votes.
Nevertheless, Obama won with 93 percent of the African-American vote, 73 percent of the Asian vote and 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, together with 55 percent of women voters.
* Editor’s Note: Sebelius’s full title is Secretary of Health and Human Services.
** Editor’s Note: Donovan’s full title is Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
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