Latino groups eye cabinet jobs


Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the 2012 Breeders' Cup. (Harry How/Getty Images)

They have high expectations of landing at least two — they want three — Cabinet or Cabinet-level slots. And there’s a possibility that both Latinos now in the Cabinet will be moving in a bit.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has not officially made a decision — first we heard he was leaving, then he was staying — but now he says he’ll be taking the holidays to think about what he wants to do, noting that he “wants to spend more time” with his family. (Hmmm. Loop Fans know what that usually means.)

We had Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) penciled in for this job, but he managed to get reelected. We had Heidi Heitkamp in as back-up if Tester won, but she’s now incoming senator from North Dakota.

There’s talk that John Berry, a former assistant secretary of Interior in the Clinton administration and now director of the Office of Personnel Management, might move over to Interior.

And Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is said to be eyeing a run for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors — a very powerful body out there, though she’s not inclined to leave for a year or so.

Labor unions, however — think Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and other states — while quite happy with Solis, who’s got strong labor roots, have at least one candidate they’d like to replace her: Leo Gerard, the long-time president of the United Steelworkers. The very highly regarded Gerard worked long and hard for the reelection.

Might help his chances a whole lot if Gerard, a Canadian, were an American citizen. After all, as secretary of labor he would be 10th in line to be president should something happen to the president and vice president.

Latino groups have a long list of “possibles,” especially for Commerce or Transportation, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former Miami mayor Manny Diaz.

Looking private sector, business executives such as Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, or Cesar Conde, president of the Univision Networks at Univision Communications, might be induced to join the administration.

Meanwhile, there’s some talk that longtime Obama friend and mega-bundler Penny Pritzker — not a Latina — might be interested in the Commerce job. We had her penciled in for a small diplomatic post, like the Court of St. James’s (London) or perhaps Paris but...

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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