By Glenn Minnis – – – – –
The two remaining Democratic presidential hopefuls have both vowed to nominate Latinos for key cabinet posts in hopes of securing the support of what could be the most critical voting bloc in the 2016 race for the White House.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have both pledged to actively seek out Latinos for key posts within their respective administrations should either of them officially emerge as President Barack Obama’s successor.
Pledges in Response to NHLA Questionnaire
Clinton and Sanders submitted to a questionnaire organized and presented to them by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), the country’s largest Latino-backed coalition.
The NHLA submitted their list of 20 questions to all the candidates from both major parties still in the field as of Feb. 25, but only received responses from Clinton and Sanders.
With Pew Research reporting that more than 27 million Hispanics will be eligible to cast ballots this election season and the issue of immigration easily being among the most heated topics,
Latinos have emerged as a key voting bloc for both Democratic challengers.
“From special assistants to cabinet members, Latinos will play a key role in helping to shape my policy priorities and be effectively represented in our agencies,” party front-runner Clinton wrote in one of her returned responses.
Meanwhile, Sanders promised to make his administration “reflect the diverse make-up of the country.” He added, “I can think of no place more vital for such diversity than in the cabinet and the Senior Executive Service of the President of the United States of America.”
In addition, both candidates have also pledged to legislatively tackle the issue of immigration early in their administration should either of them be elected.
No Response From GOP Front-runner Trump and Cruz
For many, the fact that GOP front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz both neglected to respond to the questionnaire came as no great surprise given some of the hard-line immigration rhetoric both have uttered throughout their campaigns.
Both men have vowed to quickly deport all 11 million immigrants now estimated to be residing in the U.S., and Trump has also pledged to erect a massive wall along the Mexican border to keep immigrants out.
NHLA chairman Hector Sanchez insists the NHLA will use information gleamed from the responses on the questionnaire to guide voter engagement and to hold the eventual White House winner to all the promises made to Latinos during campaign season.
“This is not just a piece of paper that we’re going to put out there,” he said. “If they want the Latino vote, they must engage with us.”
During his two-term administration, President Barack Obama made it a point of nominating several Latinos for key cabinet positions, among them current U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.