Obama's Cabinet Doesn't Look Like America
And Hispanics are ticked off.
Obama promised hope and change, and Hispanics hoped for the usual two Latinos in the Cabinet. And heck, why not three or four? Now that would be a change.
But at this early stage in the appointments process, there is a trickle of disappointment running through the Latino community.
First, the most prominent Hispanic leader, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, lost the plum secretary of state assignment to New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Last spring, Richardson angered the Clintonistas by backing Obama over Clinton during the heated Democratic Primary contest, only to now see her being offered the top diplomatic post.
“There’s nobody more prepared and experienced” for the job than Richardson, said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Richardson was energy secretary and ambassador to the United Nations during the Clinton administration, and he helped free hostages in North Korea, Iraq and Cuba.
Second, grass-roots immigrant rights activists have mixed feelings about Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano being the likely nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security.
Arizona is the epicenter of the national immigration crisis, and Napolitano, the popular border state governor, has navigated through turbulent rhetoric on all sides to calm the debate.
Napolitano signed into law last year the nation’s harshest penalties against employers who hire undocumented workers. While the law is being challenged in court, Napolitano has signed revisions that include protections for businesses that show good-faith efforts to follow the rules.
Some immigration advocates think she went too far to the right because of her political need to placate Arizona’s conservative voters.