Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lone Latino in Cabinet will carry heavy load

If one wants to limit the issue to a head count, we’re going from 2 to 1.
PEREZ: A high bar to meet

As in the number of Latinos whom President Barack Obama has holding positions of authority in his cabinet.

DURING HIS FIRST four-year term, Obama had two people with ethnic ties to Latin America – yet both of them wound up being among those who decided that one presidential term was enough in terms of federal government service.

Both Ken Salazar and Hilda Solis decided there are other opportunities for themselves in their professional lives. Creating even more vacancies that Obama needs to fill as he goes through a second four-year term of work in the Oval Office.

If the reports are at all accurate, it would seem that Solis is being succeeded as Labor secretary by Thomas Perez.

He has worked for some time in the Department of Justice, after having been the head of the labor department in Maryland state government, and also once having served on the staff of now-late Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.

WHICH ISN’T EXACTLY the lowest of profile positions. The national economy is still far from sound. And there’s a good chance that Labor will have a strong say in the implementation of any immigration reform proposal – particularly since many of the ideologues are concerned that these people are willing to work much harder than they are.

But Perez also is going to carry a load in being the only Latino official in that cabinet. If anything, he becomes the highest-ranking Latino in the U.S. government.

Which can be a burden that drags down many officials. Let’s only hope that Perez is up to the work load, both within his agency and the responsibilities he winds up having to take on overall.


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