Tag: Secretary of Commerce

Latino

Richardson Withdraws From Obama Cabinet And Latino Representation Now Looks Slim

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

Richardson and Obama.

Unless another Latino is nominated to be secretary of commerce, Bill Richardson’s exit will leave Latino cabinet representation in the Obama administration at the same level as the Clinton and Bush administrations.

The New Mexico Governor, and would-be highest-profile Latino politician in the incoming Obama administration, has withdrawn his name from consideration for the post of secretary of commerce, a position to which he had been nominated by the President-elect with considerable fanfare in early December.

Richardson stepped down because of uncertainty over the success of his confirmation process – uncertainty caused by a federal investigation into his administration’s dealings with a consulting firm that donated $100,000 to two of his political action committees.

While Richardson said he was confident he and his aides will be eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, he decided to withdraw from the Obama team to avoid delays in the confirmation process. He will stay on as governor of New Mexico.

Richardson — who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination before throwing his support to Obama (despite his longtime association with the Clintons) — apparently had expected to become Obama’s main Latino official, not only dealing with Commerce matters, but also helping improve the currently very cool U.S. relationship with Latin America.  He had also been mentioned as a candidate for secretary of state, and the naming of Hillary Clinton to that post instead caused discomfort in some Latino quarters.

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CommentaryImmigration News

Bill Richardson’s Real Job: Obama’s “Latino in Chief”

Bill Richardson may not have been appointed secretary of state, but his remarks in Spanish after a brief and ceremonial thank you in English left no doubt that he had in mind a bigger role for himself in the Obama Administration: that of “Latino in Chief.”

“To our Latino community, thank you for your votes. Like he (President-elect Barack Obama) told us, ‘Yes, we can’, and our vote has been our voice,” he said in his very Mexican Spanish. “To the millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean, we have to strengthen the ties that bind us and remember the importance of a united continent.”

[Watch Richardson’s remarks here:]

Those are lofty words for somebody who is supposedly only going to deal with issues of commerce, and not diplomatic relations. But his comments made some believe that he sees himself as a link between Obama — who is said to have limited relations with Latino leaders outside of Illinois — and Latinos everywhere. (more…)