Three Texans are headed to the White House.
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced the appointments Tuesday of three Democratic operatives with Texas roots: Emmy Ruiz, Cristóbal J. Alex and Adrian Saenz. All will serve in high-profile roles in the Biden administration.
Ruiz, an Austin-based political consultant, is headed to the White House to serve as Biden’s director of political strategy and outreach.
Ruiz, 37, is a much sought-after Democratic consultant who served in pivotal roles in President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, in Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for president and on Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ 2019 bid for the Democratic nomination for president. She was also a senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee and a senior staffer at the Texas-based Annie’s List. (She worked briefly in a contract position for The Texas Tribune Festival in 2014.)
Although she’s a Texan, she made her name in Democratic politics as a strategist with an expertise in Nevada.
In her new role, she will serve as Biden’s political eyes and ears and work with Congress on political matters. Known in shorthand as the White House political director, the role is typically the first point of contact for members of Congress on matters like fundraising, campaign appearances and endorsements.
Born in Harlingen, Ruiz is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Alex, an El Paso native, was the president of the Latino Victory Project and will serve as the deputy cabinet secretary, a role in which he will assist in the relationship between the president and the cabinet. In 2016, he was national deputy director for voter outreach and mobilization for Clinton's presidential campaign. Before entering politics, Alex worked for the Open Society Foundation and the Ford Foundation and was a civil rights attorney.
Biden appointed Saenz to serve as deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement, a role in which he will help the administration manage relationships with various constituencies.
Saenz was most recently an adviser for Latino paid media and mail to the Biden campaign. During the Obama administration, Saenz served as a special assistant to the president and managed Obama's relationships with state elected officials. Additionally, he worked under incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein's Ebola response team for the Obama administration. He also worked for both the 2012 and 2008 Obama presidential campaigns, as a chief of staff to two members of Congress, and as a Latino vote and field director for the House Democratic campaign arm in 2006.
Like Ruiz, he is a graduate of UT-San Antonio.
Disclosure: Annie's List, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundation and the University of Texas at San Antonio have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.