Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be the chairman of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) announced Tuesday.

The move is a further step onto the national stage by Villaraigosa, 59, who in 2008 was a national co-chairman of then-senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) White House bid and later served as a member of President Obama’s Transition Economic Advisory Board.

It’s also a move that underscores that national Democrats are seeking to woo Latino voters ahead of what is shaping up to be a competitive 2012 race.

In an email to DNC members Tuesday night announcing her nomination of Villaraigosa, Wasserman Schultz wrote that the two-term mayor “has dedicated his career to civic engagement and empowering people at the grassroots. And that’s exactly what we need to be successful at this convention—input and engagement from Americans across the country.”

”As you know, the Permanent Chair presides over the convention proceedings, ensuring order, decorum and efficiency as the Party nominates its presidential and vice presidential candidates, adopts the National Platform and conducts other important business,” she wrote. “My nomination of Mayor Villaraigosa will be presented to the Convention Rules Committee and then voted on by the delegates to the 2012 Convention at the opening session.”