Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Transition Updates!

Texan Enters Talks for Possible Position in Obama Administration

Texas State Representative Rick Noriega (D), met with President-elect Barack Obama yesterday in Chicago. According to confidential sources, the meeting appeared to be a potential first step toward consideration of Noriega for appointment to an administration position. According to people close to the process who spoke on the condition of not being identified, no specific job was mentioned.

Noriega, the Democrat who lost his Senate bid on November 4th to Republican incumbent John Cornyn, declined to discuss the meeting in Chicago. Obama’s transition team also declined to comment. Federico Peña, a former Clinton administration official, served as a go-between Obama and Noriega.

Former Senate candidates often have been considered for presidential appointments. After George H.W. Bush lost two Senate races in Texas, he served as ambassador to the United Nations, chief liaison to China and CIA director. Those jobs preceded his election as vice president and president.

Noriega earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Houston and got a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

After U.S. Army service, he became a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard, through which he served in Afghanistan in 2004 and 2005. His wife, Melissa, became his temporary replacement in the state House during the deployment. She is now a Houston councilwoman.

Noriega also has emergency management experience from serving as incident commander for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Latina Selected to Serve as Member of the White House Staff

President-elect Barack Obama today announced two new members of the White House staff. Jonathan Favreau will serve as Director of Speechwriting, and Cecilia Muñoz will serve as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. We are proud to report that a Latina has been selected to play a key role in the  Obama administration.

“We’re continuing to build a White House team that can rise to the challenges facing this country – and I couldn’t be more excited to announce Jon and Cecilia. I’m confident that at a critical time in our history, this White House will restore openness and accountability to our Executive Branch and help to put government back in the hands of the people it serves.”

Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Cecilia Muñoz currently serves as Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), where she supervises all legislative and advocacy activities conducted by NCLR policy staff. Muñoz is the Chair of the Board of Center for Community Change, and serves on the U.S. Programs Board of the Open Society Institute and the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Philanthropies.  She is the daughter of immigrants from Bolivia and was born in Detroit, Michigan. In June 2000, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in recognition of her work on immigration and civil rights.