News Column

Government Influentials

Oct. 18, 2011

Mayra E. Alvarez
Director, public health policy
Office of Health Reform, Department of Health and Human Services
Ms. Alvarez has primary oversight responsibility for coordinated and timely implementation of the public-health, prevention and health-care workforce policy provisions in the federal Affordable Care Act. She has served as a legislative assistant for then-Rep. Hilda L. Solis. She completed her graduate education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her undergraduate education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Xavier Becerra
Representative
California
Rep. Becerra is the House Democratic Caucus vice chairman, the first Hispanic to serve on the Ways and Means Committee and a member of its Subcommittee on Social Security. He is also vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. He served on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. He is a Close Up Foundation and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute board member. His bachelor's degree comes from Stanford University and his juris doctorate from Stanford Law School.

Marty Castro
Chairman
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Mr. Castro was appointed to the commission in January. Prior to that, he was chairman of the Illinois Human Rights Commission. He has been a board member of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He is chairman of Castro Synergies, which provides consulting services to corporations, entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations. He is the National Museum of Mexican Art chairman. He has a bachelor's degree from DePaul University and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

Edward Davila
U.S. district judge
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Before joining the U.S. District Court's San Jose, Calif., division, Mr. Davila had been a judge in California's Santa Clara County's Superior Court. Prior to that, Mr. Davila had a lengthy career as a criminal defense practitioner. He spent seven years as a Santa Clara County deputy public defender and 13 years in private practice. He is a former president of the Santa Clara County Bar Association and La Raza Lawyers of Santa Clara County

Manny Diaz
Former mayor
Miami
Mr. Diaz was elected Miami mayor in 2001 and re-elected in 2005. He was president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2008. Since 2009, he has resumed his corporate and real estate law practice as a senior partner at Lydecker Diaz in Miami. During his mayoral tenure, Diaz was honored for many nationally recognized programs in areas such as urban design, sustainability and green initiatives, education, and affordable housing. He is a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council of the Department of Homeland Security.

Carmen Elisa Espinosa
Judge, Appellate Court
Connecticut
Ms. Espinosa was appointed to the court by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and was sworn in March 16, the first Hispanic appointed to such a position. She has served as an assistant U.S. attorney and as an FBI special agent. She has a juris doctor degree from The George Washington University Law School, a master's degree from Brown University and a bachelor's degree from Central Connecticut State University.

Juan M. Garcia III
Assistant secretary of the Navy (manpower and reserve affairs)
Mr. Garcia acts on matters pertaining to manpower and personnel policy in the Navy. He is an attorney; a former Texas state representative; and a naval aviator, having served in Hawaii, the Persian Gulf and the western Pacific. He left active duty in 2004. He graduated from UCLA in 1988. He earned a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and a master's degree from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1992.

Arlene Gonzalez- Sanchez
Commissioner
New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)
Ms. Gonzalez-Sanchez was confirmed as commissioner March 1. Her position is as a Cabinet-level, chief executive officer overseeing an addiction services system with more than 1,500 programs and 35,000 paid and volunteer professionals. She serves as the Region II representative on the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse board. She has a master's degree from Hunter College School of Social Work, and a master's degree and a bachelor's degree from Fordham University.

Carmen Lomellin
Permanent representative
Organization of American States
Ms. Lomellin has been OAS ambassador since November 2009. She previously had been the Inter-American Commission of Women for the OAS' executive secretary and the OAS's Department of External Relations' director for outreach. Under President Clinton, she held positions in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and advised the White House Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach on Hispanic affairs. She holds a bachelor's degree from St. Joseph's Calumet College and an MBA from De Paul University.

P. David Lopez
General counsel
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Mr. Lopez served in the EEOC for 15 years in the field and at headquarters and is the first field staff attorney to be appointed general counsel. He was a supervisory trial attorney at the EEOC's Phoenix district office and first served as special assistant to then-Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas. Prior to joining the EEOC, he was a Department of Justice senior trial attorney. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988 and from Arizona State University in 1985.

Cesar A. Perales
Secretary of state
New York
Mr. Perales has more than four decades of public service, including serving as assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services and deputy mayor of New York City. He is a co-founder of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. He earned his bachelor's degree from City College of New York and a J.D. from Fordham Law School. He is a recipient of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic National Bar Association.

John Perez
Speaker
California Assembly
Mr. Perez represents the 46th Assembly District in Los Angeles and has been speaker since March 2010. He spent more than 15 years working with the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 324 and the California Labor Federation. He is first openly gay person of color elected to state office in California. He has worked with AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Latino Coalition Against AIDS, and the California Center for Regional Leadership.

Samuel Perez
Rear admiral
U.S. Navy
Adm. Perez graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1980. He currently serves as commander, Carrier Strike Group One. At sea, he served as electrical officer and main propulsion assistant and as an operations officer, and commanded a destroyer squadron and several ships. Ashore, he served as the program integrator for the Ballistic Missile Defense program, as future ships branch head and on the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an assistant deputy director. He earned a master's degree at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Jimmie V. Reyna
Circuit judge
U.S. Court of Appeals
Mr. Reyna was appointed by President Obama in 2011. Previously, he was an international trade attorney and shareholder at Williams Mullen, serving on its board from 2006-08 and from 2009-11. He was the founder and senior co-editor of the Hispanic National Bar Association Journal of Law and Policy. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester and his J.D. degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Carol A. Robles-Roman
Deputy mayor for legal affairs and counsel to the mayor
New York


Ms. Robles-Roman oversees several city agencies that improve the public's access to justice and city services. She spearheaded the efforts to reform New York City's administrative tribunals. Prior to her city government work, she held executive posts with the New York State Unified Court System. She has served as senior vice president and general counsel of the mainland offices of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. She has a juris doctorate from New York University School of Law and a bachelor's degree from Fordham University at Lincoln Center.

Marco Rubio
Senator
Florida
Mr. Rubio attended Tarkio College in Missouri for one year on a football scholarship before transferring to Santa Fe Community College and graduated in 1993 with a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida. He earned his juris doctor degree at the University of Miami in 1996. From 2000-08, he served in the Florida House of Representatives as majority whip, majority leader and speaker of the house. At the end of his tenure as speaker, he resumed his law practice.

Esther Salas
Judge
U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
Ms. Salas was nominated to her position by President Obama in January. She was confirmed by the Senate in June. Previously, she had been as a U.S. magistrate judge for the District of New Jersey, a position she has held since 2006. She previously served as an assistant federal public defender for the District of New Jersey from 1997 to 2006. Prior to that she was an associate at a law firm, and she had served as a law clerk for a Superior Court judge. She has a bachelor's degree and J.D. from Rutgers University.

Brian Sandoval
Governor
Nevada
Mr. Sandoval came to the office of governor after a long career in public service. He served as the state's first Hispanic federal judge, appointed by President Bush in October 2005. He was elected Nevada's attorney general in 2002. He also had served a member of the Nevada Gaming Commission, the youngest person ever to serve as the state's chief gaming regulator, and two terms in the Nevada Legislature. His law practice has been varied, engaging in litigation, administrative and adoption matters. His honors include the Hispanics in Politics' Broche de Oro, and the Latino Coalition's Most Influential Hispanic in the U.S. and Excellence in Leadership awards. His bachelor's degree comes from the University of Nevada and his law degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Angel Taveras
Mayor
Providence, R.I.
Attorney and former Providence Housing Court Judge Taveras was elected Providence's 37th and first Hispanic mayor in November 2010. He received 82 percent of the vote. He received his law degree from Georgetown University and practiced at the prestigious firm of Brown Rudnick LLP before forming his own firm, Taveras Law Office PC. He was a founding board member of New Urban Arts, served on the board of the Providence Plan, and on the International Institute's board of advisers. Before pursuing his career as a lawyer, he used a fellowship award to create an after-school programs and summer day camp at the Elmwood Community Center in Providence.

Camelia M. Valdes
Passaic County prosecutor
New Jersey
Ms. Valdes became the first woman Hispanic county prosecutor in the state, the first woman prosecutor in Passaic County, and the nation's first lead prosecutor of Dominican ancestry. She has served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Newark office of the U.S. Attorney's Office, where she served in the government frauds, terrorism and violent crimes units. She also had been an assistant counsel in the governor's counsel's office, a Division of Criminal Justice deputy attorney general, a municipal prosecutor for Newark and a Newark Teachers Union staff attorney. She is a past president of the Hispanic Bar Association. She has degrees from Seton Hall University and from Rutgers Law School.



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