An analysis of election results shows in no uncertain terms that a major factor in Barack Obama's Presidential victory was the Hispanic vote. Simply put, Obama won 67 percent and McCain garnered 31 percent. Hispanics were an essential part of Obama's wins in New Mexico, Colorado, and Florida.
Now that the election is over and it is time for the President-elect to prepare to govern, Hispanics have to be considered a major element of his new coalition. They can't be ignored -- and as Obama prepared his transition team, he took care not to ignore them.
About 30 Hispanics are currently participating in the team that is preparing the way for Obama to take the reigns of office on January 20, 2009. What follows is a list of the people who are serving on the transition team and short profiles.
Justice And Civil Rights Team
Judge Cruz Reynoso. He was the first Hispanic to serve on the California Supreme Court. Prior to being named to the court, Reynoso was deputy director of the California Fair Employment Practices Commission (CFEPC) and was director of the California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA). After leaving the California Supreme Court, he served on the faculty of the UCLA School of Law and vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Tom Perez. Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Perez is responsible for the justice, health and human services, veterans affairs and housing and urban development agencies for the transition team. He has served in the Department of Justice in a number of civil rights positions including Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. He was also director of the office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services and he served as a special counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy. From 2001 to 2007, he served as an assistant professor of law at the University of Maryland Law School.
Alejandro Mayorkas. Mayorkas is an attorney and partner at the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers and represents corporations and businesses in government enforcement and civil cases. Prior to his current position, he served as the United States Attorney for the Central District of California.
Joan Magagna. Magagna has worked for the National Disability Rights Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and advocacy of individuals with disabilities.
Leon Rodriguez. An expert on health care fraud, Rodriguez is the County Attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland. He has served in the U.S. Attorney's office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and as First Assistant U.S. Attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brown University and a J.D. from Boston College School of Law. He is a member of the Montgomery County and American Bar Associations and is on the Boards of Director of the D.C. Hispanic Bar Association Foundation and the Montgomery County Primary Care Coalition.
Department of Health And Human Services Team
Ray Rivera. Rivera was heavily involved in the Obama campaign as the State Director in Colorado. Prior to the campaign he was a Political Director for AFSCME, a public employees labor union and he served as a union organizer.
Xavier de Souza Briggs. Briggs is an associate professor at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An expert in affordable housing, economic development and inequality, environmental sustainability and civic engagement and collaboration, he also was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
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