WASHINGTON – Joe Biden's presidential campaign is bringing on the granddaughter of civil rights leader César Chávez as a senior adviser to help with Latino outreach and building out its operation in the states.
Some Latino leaders have criticized the Biden campaign, saying it's not doing enough to reach out to the key demographic group.
The new adviser, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, previously worked as co-national political director on California Sen. Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign and was her California state director before that. She also served in the Obama administration, overseeing the White House’s engagement with LGBT, Latino, veteran, youth, education, labor and progressive leaders. She still works as a consultant to Harris.
She's joining Cristóbal Alex, a former president of the Latino Victory Fund, who serves as Biden’s senior adviser for issues involving Hispanic voters.
Biden is viewed with skepticism by some Latinos for his ties to deportation policies during the Obama administration. He struggled with Latino outreach throughout the Democratic presidential primary, facing pro-immigration protesters, and last November his most senior Latina aide quit the campaign after reportedly raising concerns that the campaign hadn't focused enough on Latino voters.
Indeed, Latino voters strongly sided with Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary.
But the Biden campaign has ramped up its outreach to Latinos in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Biden held an online event with the League of United Latin American Citizens at which he focused on the poor conditions experienced by workers at meatpacking plants, many of whom, he noted, are black or Latino.
His campaign is reportedly working on a multimillion-dollar outreach plan focused on Latino men. And this month, Biden also spoke with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as she was named to a unity task force aimed at bridging the gap between Biden and Sanders supporters.