December 20, 2020
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
President-elect of the United States
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President-elect Biden,
On behalf of Proyecto 20%—a coalition of national Hispanic organizations that seek to ensure equal representation of Hispanics in the next administration— we write to offer our enthusiastic support for the nominations of Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona to be Secretary of Education and California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Board of Administration Member Stacie Olivares to be Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Miguel Cardona began his career as a fourth-grade teacher, becoming the youngest principal in the state at 28 and was named principal of the year in 2012. He also served as co-chairman of a state task force examining achievement gaps. His upbringing and story of learning English when he entered the public school system is one heard in many Latino homes.
Stacie Olivares’s extensive career in the private and public sectors qualify her as the next Administrator of SBA. In California, she has been integral in the management of millions of taxpayer dollars and has spent her career serving small businesses and entrepreneurs. Specifically, her expertise in serving minority-owned small businesses is valuable, given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Latino and Black owned businesses.
As you know, achieving true diversity in your administration requires ongoing communication with stakeholders in the civil rights community. We launched Proyecto 20% to ensure that at least 20% of the approximately 4,000 appointments filled by your administration are held by Latinos/as. For the next year, UnidosUS and our partners—Hispanic Federation, Voto Latino, Latino Victory Fund, LULAC, MALDEF, Mi Familia Vota, CHCI, and NALEO—are actively engaging our communities and key stakeholders with the aim of recruiting and supporting qualified Latino/a candidates who are eager to serve the nation in your administration.
We commend you for breaking many barriers already in your cabinet nominations, including Xavier Becerra for Secretary of Health and Human Services and Alejandro Mayorkas for Secretary of Homeland Security, who represent historic Latino nominations. In addition to these two outstanding canidates, we urge you to include more Latino/a representation in your cabinet.
We expect more progress than we did nearly 30 years ago. In particular, we expect at least one cabinet position to be filled by a qualified Latina. We are confident Miguel Cardona and Stacie Olivares are strong candidates to lead the Department of Education and the Small Business Administration, respectively. This pandemic has further amplified the deep inequities faced by Latinos, and both nominees have the necessary experience to help all communities out of this crisis. Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to meeting with you soon.
President and CEO