November 21, 2008


Hispanic representation on the Obama leadership team?

President elect Barack Obama is going through the process of filling his high level Cabinet positions, positions that are being filled rapidly and to date no Hispanic representation. Does this surprise? Yes and no.

Yes, we are surprised that no Hispanic has been selected to serve in a high level Cabinet position, Hispanics did come out and vote in support of Obama and they did deliver in those battleground states: Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Florida targeted by the Obama camp. So Hispanics did deliver for Obama. Hispanics are the largest minority group, and if you are talking about change, how can you move forward with change and not include the Hispanic community!

Since the election we have heard of the importance of the Hispanic vote, with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson leading this community and whose name was quickly bantered about as a possible selection for Secretary of State. Since those first few days we have heard Richardson’s name less and less as Sen. Hillary Clinton has become the odds on favorite for this Cabinet position.

Should we be surprised that no Hispanics have been selected to date? No! As we had editorialized before the election the Hispanic community had not held Obama accountable. During the election Obama did not address Hispanic issues, immigration issues, nor has he traveled to Mexico to learn of their issues. Obama did not speak of incorporating the Hispanic community into the power structure or the economic structure. On issues of importance to the Hispanic community Obama only spoke in generalities. So are we really surprised now that the election is over that Obama is still taking the Hispanic community for granted?

And the talk of the battleground states and the overwhelming Hispanic support from those states, they lost their luster with Obama’s strong showing in Ohio and Illinois, and when you add in California this made those electoral votes in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico icing on the cake and they didn’t really play a crucial role.

Obama has shown a tendency to select long time supporters and advisors to his top positions who have demonstrated loyalty to Obama. Bill Richardson, who is Hispanic, came onto the Obama scene late into the game long after he abandoned his Presidential run. Richardson may have jumped on the bandwagon of the winning team but he didn’t display much loyalty to the Clintons when it was President Bill Clinton who made Rich-ardson the politician he is today.

Hispanics will eventually get appointed to sub-Cabinet positions and you will find more Hispanics being hired by the Federal government but as far as political power is concerned, Hispanics will be left outside looking in. Political power only comes to those who take it, it is never given.

Letters to the Editor Return to the Frontpage