El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

El Paso in the (White) House, y’all! A look at Obama’s Texas team.

A story on the Houston Chronicle describes the Texas connections of Hispanics in President Barack Obama’s administration. According to the list published by the paper, anywhere from four to six named are from El Paso or have El Paso ties.

An excerpt from the story, and the list:

Hispanics’ clout widens with Obama
By RICHARD DUNHAM Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau
June 13, 2009, 10:48PM

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has selected far more Hispanics for his administration than any previous president in American history, a stark reminder of the increasing clout of the nation’s fast-growing and largest minority group.

But it also reflects a Hispanic power shift from Texas to California. Of the top Latinos in the Obama administration, 21 have connections to the Golden State, while 14 boast Texas ties — a reversal from days of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

The bright spotlight on Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court has focused national attention on her Latino heritage and yet obscured an unpublicized but highly significant shift in the ways of Washington: Latinos have comprised 11 percent of the new president’s first 300 nominees for senior administration positions requiring Senate confirmation, according to the White House.

In addition to 33 positions requiring Senate confirmation, Obama has chosen 26 Hispanics for White House staff jobs— more than any of his predecessors. Civil rights advocates hail the increase in Latino employment in the West Wing and beyond.

Hispanics with Texas ties who have been picked for key administration positions by President Obama.

Edward Avalos

Current job: Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Background: Worked for the Texas Department of Agriculture for five years.

Anthony Bernal

Current job: Director of Scheduling for Dr. Jill Biden, Office of the Vice President

Background: Earned his bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Arturo Chavez

Current job: Member, President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Background: President and CEO of the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio.

Marisa Demeo

Current job: Judge, D.C. Superior Court

Background: Worked as a lawyer for various public interest groups, including Texas Rural Legal Aid.

Carlos Elizondo

Current job: Residence Manager and Social Secretary for the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden, Office of the Vice President

Background: Native of Harlingen.

Juan Garcia

Current job: Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Navy, Department of Defense

Background: Member of the Texas House of Representatives from Corpus Christi from 2006 to 2009. Attorney with Hartline, Dacus, Barger, Dreyer & Kern, L.L.P in Corpus Christi.

Gabriella “Gaby” Gomez

Current job: Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Congressional Affairs, Department of Education

Background: Served as a legislative assistant to Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, covering education, health and labor on the local and federal level and serving as his liaison to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Kathleen “Kathy” Martinez

Current job: Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Department of Labor

Background: Appointed in 2002 by President George W. Bush as one of 15 members of the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency advising President Bush and Congress on disability policy. Three years later, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed Martinez one of eight public members of the newly established State Department advisory committee on disability and foreign policy.

Vilma Martinez

Current job: Chief of Mission, Argentina (Ambassador)

Background: A Texas native who earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas in 1964.

Victor Mendez

Current job: Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation

Background: Earned his Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Alejandro Perez

Current job: Special Assistant to the President, White House Office, Legislative Affairs

Background: Earned his Bachelor of Arts in government from the University of Texas at Austin.

Jose Riojas

Current job: Assistant Secretary of Operations, Security, and Preparedness, Department of Veterans Affairs

Background: Executive Director for the Center for Defense Systems Research, headquartered at the University of Texas at El Paso. Also serves as Chairman of the UTEP National Security Advisory Board, is a member of the Border Biomedical Research Center advisory committee, serves on the El Paso Regional Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors and is serving on the Texas Governor’s Emerging Technology Fund Advisory Committee.

Daniel Sepulveda

Current job: U.S. Trade Representative, Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs

Background: Earned a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Moises Vela

Current job: Director of Administration, Office of the Vice President

Background: A Texas native, he left the company he started, The Comunidades Group, to work in the Obama administration.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

June 17, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: