Education

Hispanic Caucus presses Biden to appoint Latinos to lead Education, Small Business

“It has come to our attention that Mr. Miguel Cardona and Ms. Stacie Olivares are possible finalists for Cabinet appointments,” the letter states. It adds that CHC members offer their “enthusiastic endorsement” of Cardona and Olivares.

The lawmakers noted, however, that they remain “strongly supportive” of Eskelsen García. Backing multiple candidates for the job could help the Hispanic Caucus’ chances of seeing more Latinos named to the Cabinet.

“The cabinet selection process is always a very dynamic and fluid thing, and both Lily and Miguel, as we understand, have been under serious consideration,” said current Hispanic Caucus Chair Joaquin Castro (D-Texas). “And they’re both incredibly talented individuals.”

The letter highlights Cardona’s experience at every level of the education system in their letter, from teacher to principal and professor. Olivares’ history of managing “millions of taxpayer dollars” in her state-level role in California, the letter states, makes her qualified to lead SBA.

“It is essential that the next Cabinet reflects the diverse communities, especially Latino communities, which have been driving America’s businesses and economic growth for years,” the letter states. It adds that because of the pandemic’s impact on the economy and businesses, “it is more important now than ever” that the Cabinet understands the needs of Latinos.

“My Congressional Hispanic Caucus colleagues and I have been very clear: we want more Latina/os represented in the Cabinet,” Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “I urge the transition to appoint a Latina to the Cabinet; Latinas are ready to lead.”

If nominated to head the Small Business Administration, Olivares would hold a Cabinet-level position.

Biden faces pressure campaigns from a number of lawmakers as he finalizes his Cabinet nominations. Leaders of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus have repeatedly called on him to nominate an Asian or Pacific Islander American to a secretary-level role.

Black lawmakers likewise turned up the heat on Biden early on but since have been pleased with his selections. Hispanic lawmakers have warned Biden that failing to nominate more Latinos to the Cabinet would mean it is not reflective of the size of Latinos population in the country.

“He’s chosen some remarkably talented people, but to cap the number of Latinos at two would be disappointing and would also shortchange the Latino community in the United States,” said Castro. “This is a community that’s 20 percent of the country and has never been properly represented in any president’s Cabinet or in any federal administration.”