Biden’s Latino education secretary to add to diverse Cabinet

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden looks on as he speaks about the recent massive cyber attack against the U.S. and also other Biden administration goals in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., December 22, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – President-elect Joe Biden will add to the diversity of his incoming administration on Wednesday when he introduces Miguel Cardona as his choice for U.S. Secretary of Education.

Cardona, currently the education commissioner for the state of Connecticut and a former teacher, would be another Latino addition to Biden’s top team, after advocacy groups urged the former vice president to appoint Hispanic Americans to senior roles.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Cardona would be charged with helping the administration get students and teachers back in the classroom after the COVID-19 pandemic forced at-home instruction in districts across the country.

Biden has already nominated Alejandro Majorkas as secretary of Homeland Security and Xavier Becerra to head the Department of Health and Human Services, both Latinos.

During the presidential campaign, Biden pledged to dramatically increase federal funding for schools and provide universal access to pre-kindergarten programs for 3 and 4-year-olds. He takes office on Jan. 20.

Biden has not chosen an attorney general, the most prominent slot he has yet to fill. Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, he said he has not settled upon a candidate, in part, because he wants to ensure he lives up to his pledge to appoint a diverse cabinet.

“So, we’re just working through it,” he said. “There’s not an obvious choice in my mind.”

Biden’s search for an attorney general has been complicated by a federal probe into the business affairs of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. The elder Biden has vowed not to interfere in the investigation or discuss it with his nominee.

Some Republicans have called for the appointment of a special counsel to handle the matter.

Reporting by Simon Lewis; Writing by James Oliphant; Editing by Stephen Coates

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