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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > Why is it so hard getting more Latinos appointed to the Obama cabinet?

Why is it so hard getting more Latinos appointed to the Obama cabinet?

LatinaLista — President-elect Obama’s announcement of Sen. Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State ceased being newsworthy the minute it was leaked to the press before Thanksgiving. Rather, it’s more interesting, for the Latino electorate, at least, to see where the “Latino-in-waiting” will be placed.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson waits his turn to bat for the Obama Administration.
Of course, I’m talking about New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. There had been talk of Richardson for Secretary of State but once it became apparent that Clinton was in the running for that position, it didn’t take a psychic to see he wasn’t going to get it.
Latina Lista had argued that Richardson be given the Department of Homeland Security berth but that too has been filled, by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano.
So now there’s the expectation that he will be given the Commerce department. Chances are he will and he’ll accept, but come to find out Richardson was not even the first choice for that position.
So why is it so hard to place Richardson, or any other Latino in the Obama Cabinet?
Could it be we don’t want it bad enough?


Nah, that couldn’t possibly be the reason. When 67% of the electorate hands over the vote to one candidate, it’s pretty indicative that the whole community wants it pretty bad.
Is it because there are not enough qualified Latinos to assume such high-level federal positions?
Maybe it depends on who is involved in the vetting process.
In fact, a quick review of who is helping Obama choose the “right” people for his Cabinet reveals an interesting tidbit — there are 30 Latinos on Obama’s various transitional teams.
Many more than Latinos/as being seriously considered as Cabinet material.
One has to wonder why.
The argument can always be made that qualifications should trump ethnicity and there’s no argument there but how come so many qualified Latinos/as can be tapped to help pick other qualified individuals to fill these positions but more Latino candidates aren’t in the running?
Maybe it’s how Latinos sell ourselves.
Though there is an effort by some high-profile Latino organizations to help identify and promote viable Latino candidates, the list is still too short.
Maybe some of those helping on the transitional teams should, instead, be looked at again and considered for appointments themselves.
Unfortunately, what this underscores is not the fact that there is a dearth of Latino talent out there, because obviously that’s not the case.
Instead it’s the fact that Latinos are horrible self-promoters and just when we realize that it’s going to take a selfless, ego-less community-wide effort to get some of the best and brightest Latinos noticed for White House appointments, there’s a possibility that we’re late for the party — otra vez! (again)
A bad habit that needs to be broken.

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Comment(4)

  • Avatar
    Sandra
    December 2, 2008 at 7:47 am

    What difference does it make what ethnicity a politician is anyway?

  • Avatar
    Irma
    December 2, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    I think the problem is that Latinos have failed to gain national prominence as politicians. No one knows who we are-
    so we dont get the plum political jobs.
    More of us need to enter poltiics and work our way up. Think about it people, are you ready to serve your country?

  • Avatar
    ERocha
    December 4, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    If you ask me, we tend to raise the bar to high on who can be a leader, nobody is able to reach it. Just look how we quickly abandon a candidate who makes one human mistake. We expect people to be saints, when we ourselves know how impossible it is. Yet, the consequences are we tend to be too eager to latch on any Latino the Dem and Rep party float up. We know what happen that occurred, we were stuck with Alberto Gonzales.

  • Avatar
    Michaela
    December 13, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    That was a very intelligent and truthful comment ER. Thank you for your honesty and not blaming Americans all the time.
    ERocha :
    If you ask me, we tend to raise the bar to high on who can be a leader, nobody is able to reach it. Just look how we quickly abandon a candidate who makes one human mistake. We expect people to be saints, when we ourselves know how impossible it is. Yet, the consequences are we tend to be too eager to latch on any Latino the Dem and Rep party float up. We know what happen that occurred, we were stuck with Alberto Gonzales.

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