Per Seneca’s earlier observation about Latino appointments, President Obama is on track to appoint more Latinos to top posts within the administration than did his predecessors, including Presidents Clinton and GWB. The AP has a pretty good article here.
I would like to note this particular part:
“In some ways, Obama is simply following his predecessor’s example. Until the Obama administration, Bush’s Cabinet was widely considered the most ethnically diverse in U.S. history, with Hispanics serving as secretaries of commerce and housing and as attorney general. Less than half of Obama’s Cabinet consists of white men.
Al Cardenas, a former chairman of the Florida Republican Party and a Cuban-American, said he was impressed by Obama’s initial Hispanic appointments, particularly to positions in defense, treasury and housing, though he said he will be watching to see whether the pace falls off.
About half of Obama’s picks trace their roots to Mexico and the former Spanish holdings in the Southwest, not surprising since two-thirds of Hispanics in the U.S. identify themselves as Mexican-American. But the administration also includes about half a dozen people of South American descent and nearly a dozen Hispanics from the Caribbean.”
Two things worth noting in this piece that I agree with. First, the appointments obviously don’t give Obama a free pass on immigration or other issues important in our communities. We still need to hold our officials accountable and put pressure on them, who can in turn pressure the President. Second, at the end of the piece, there is a statement about the effect of these appointments not being felt for possibly 15-20 years down the line as mid level officials often continue to climb in the bureaucracy or eventually run for higher office. This is true and makes a lot of sense. Right now people are building networks in their new positions. Some may run for office, go into the private sector, or in turn mentor other Latinos who seek to work in the federal government. Building a larger presence in the federal bureaucracy will take time, and of course, a lot of this will hinge on our community’s educational attainment and ability to network early in our careers.
The piece also noted, “More than half of the appointees hold an Ivy League degree, and more than a quarter, like the president, have a diploma from Harvard, an Associated Press review found.” Our high school dropout and subsequent college retention and graduation rates are going to have to improve to remain competitive.