President Elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet and White House Senior Staff is a diverse set, his Vice President Elect, Kamala Harris to start. Other White House Senior Staff and cabinet members, including Black men and women and three Latinos also being firsts of their background in these key positions. This includes Kern County native, Julie Chavez Rodriguez.
“A lot of times, you have folks that come in that don’t necessarily look like us. As long as we are all represented, as long as we all have a seat at the table,” David A. Torres, attorney and member of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said. “I think that is something everybody, not just Latinos can be proud of.”
Alejandro Mayorkas has been appointed head of the Department of Homeland Security, Xavier Becerra the Human and Health Services Secretary, and Julie Chavez Rodriguez Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental affairs. These three Latinos are a part of Biden’s diverse lineup.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that more than 54 percent of Kern County is home to Latinos. Local attorney and board member of the Latina Leaders of Kern County, Xochitl Garcia says these appointments
can empower local Latino leaders. Not to mention that Chavez Rodriguez, Cesar Chavez's granddaughter, is from Delano.
“To be a part of the government process is necessary to ensure our rights are protected and everyone’s rights are protected,” Garcia said. “Latinos are nothing new in California, but to have us new as far as cabinet positions is exciting.”
She adds the Latina Leaders of Kern are especially excited for California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra. Meanwhile attorney and Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, member David Torres wishes Becerra was placed in the position of united states attorney general, but sees the significance of his possible future leadership as health services secretary in handling the pandemic.
“It’s going to require him to logistically command the vaccination and make sure that it’s readily available,” Torres said. “What is equally important is the fact that he is going to be pushing hopefully for some type of healthcare for all.”
Both Garcia and Torres anticipate Mayorkas' appointment ushering in a reformed era of immigration from what our country saw during President Trump’s administration.
“If Congress can get their act together, we can hopefully put together a DACA program to finally get these young American kids their right to remain here in the United States,” Torres said.
These decisions follow eligible Latino voters being more likely to vote for Biden than Trump, according to the Pew Research Center, so how intentional were these placements?
“The Latino population is a big and growing part of our country. The truth is that a growing portion of our talent, Allen Bolar, 23ABC Political Contributor and Bakersfield College professor, said. “So, just purely from the standpoint of, I’m going to pick the most talented people, well every year there’s more and more people that are going to come from that group.”
Monday is the voting day for the Electoral College and the Presidential Inauguration is January 20. Follow our latest election coverage here.