Mr. Biden was impressed by Mr. Becerra’s private story, based on an individual conversant in his considering. Specifically, the president-elect appreciated the truth that Mr. Becerra served shoppers with psychological well being wants shortly after graduating from regulation faculty, the individual mentioned.
Whereas in Congress, Mr. Becerra was a fierce advocate of the Latino neighborhood and have become deeply concerned in efforts to overtake the nation’s immigration system. He additionally promoted plans to construct a nationwide museum dedicated to exploring the tradition and historical past of American Latinos. The House voted this year to create such a museum.
Consultant Filemon Vela, Democrat of Texas, praised Mr. Biden’s selection of Mr. Becerra, calling it “historic” and saying the California lawyer common was the fitting individual to steer the sprawling company through the worst public well being disaster in 100 years.
“Becerra will lead an company that may play a vital position in overseeing a large immunization effort and assist handle a bolstered federal response to sort out the worsening Covid-19 disaster,” Mr. Vela mentioned. “He may even assist form the Biden administration’s efforts to construct on the Reasonably priced Care Act.”
Within the late Nineties, Mr. Becerra traveled to Cuba and visited with its chief, Fidel Castro, which infuriated Republican members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. They resigned, saying they have been “personally insulted” by the go to.
Mr. Biden’s collection of Mr. Becerra to switch the present secretary, Alex M. Azar II, comes because the president-elect is below rising strain from the Latino neighborhood and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to diversify his cupboard. Mr. Becerra is the second Latino Mr. Biden has chosen for his cupboard after the selection last month of Alejandro N. Mayorkas, a Cuban immigrant, as secretary of homeland safety.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico had been considered in line for the well being secretary’s job, however she apparently fell out of the working. As an alternative, information leaked final week that Ms. Lujan Grisham had been provided, and turned down, the place of inside secretary.