by SUZANNE GAMBOA
A Latino group headed by a former member of George W. Bush’s administration and a group associated with Republicans in Congress are staging an event around the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.
The Latino Coalition, a small business group, and the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, CHLI, are combining for the event billed as a celebration of Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
The Coalition is led by Hector Barreto who was chief of the Small Business Administration under Bush.
“The Latino Coalition is looking forward to working with the Trump administration to advance opportunities for Latinos, particularly through the unique vehicle of small-business ownership. Our celebration … will be just the beginning of what our two organizations believe will be a productive and collaborative relationship with the incoming administration,” Barreto said in statement.
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and Hector Barreto Jr. (2nd R). Mario Tama / Getty Images
The Jan. 18 event is not part of the official inaugural events that Trump’s inaugural committee is organizing.
The CHLI is a non-profit organized by members of the Congressional Hispanic Conference, the caucus of Hispanic Republicans in Congress. CHLI’s board includes current members of Congress, all Republicans. It also has a corporate advisory board. CHLI’s current board chairman is former Florida congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, brother to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Conference.
Saying he was speaking for the entire board of directors, Lincoln Diaz-Balart said in a statement “it is a genuine privilege for CHLI to host this important presidential inaugural event with The Latino Coalition. With great optimism, we look forward to a future of freedom and prosperity for all.”
The announcement of the event comes as Latino influence at the highest levels of the federal government appears to be about to take a plunge. Trump has tapped people for all but two of his Cabinet posts and none are Latino. He was meeting with Jovita Carranza, who worked in the Small Business Administration under Bush and is potentially a pick for the U.S. Trade Representative job and Luis Quinonez, a business owner, on Tuesday.
Obama had several Latino Cabinet secretaries in his administration, including the agency that Baretto headed – Small Business Administration. Obama elevated that position to Cabinet level position during his tenure.
Latinos who have served or are serving in the Obama Cabinet are: Ken Salazar, former Department of the Interior secretary; Hilda Solis, former Department of Labor secretary; Julián Castro, Housing and Urban Development secretary; Tom Perez, Labor Secretary; Maria Contreras-Sweet, Small Business Administration secretary; John King, Education Secretary, who is Afro Latino.
Obama also named Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and Karen Archuleta to head Office of Personnel Management, both non-Cabinet posts but key positions.
Cited: NBC News