The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Election 2012

November 20, 2012

Latinos eye Cabinet slots

By Al Kamen

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Latino groups, feeling good these days about their contribution to President Barack Obama’s reelection — the Hispanic vote was critical in Nevada, Colorado and Florida and significant in several other battleground states — are making some lists, checking them twice.

They have high expectations of landing at least two — they want three — Cabinet or Cabinet-level slots. And there’s a possibility that both Latinos now in the Cabinet will be moving on in a bit.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has not officially made a decision — first we heard he was leaving, then he was staying — but now he says he’ll be taking the holidays to think about what he wants to do, noting that he wants to spend more time with his family. (Hmm. Regular readers know what that usually means.)

We had Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., penciled in for this job, but he managed to get reelected. We had Heidi Heitkamp in as backup if Tester won, but she’s now an incoming senator from North Dakota.

There’s talk that John Berry, a former assistant interior secretary in the Bill Clinton administration and now director of the Office of Personnel Management, might return to the Interior Department in the top job.

And Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is said to be eyeing a run for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors — a very powerful body out there — though she’s not inclined to leave for a year or so.

Labor unions, however, while quite happy with Solis, who’s got strong labor roots, have a favorite candidate in case she departs: Leo Gerard, the longtime president of the United Steelworkers. The highly regarded Gerard worked long and hard on the reelection campaign.

It might help his chances a lot if Gerard, a Canadian, were a U.S. citizen. After all, as secretary of labor he would be 10th in line to be president should something happen to the chief executive.

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