Perez: First Latino Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

The United States has its first Latino Democratic Party chairman… And, his name is Tom Perez.

The 55-year-old Dominican American politician, consumer advocate, and civil rights lawyer, a former Labor Secretary, beat out Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison a hotly contested race to lead the Democratic Party as their new chairman, and their first-ever Latino leader, on Saturday.

Tom Perez

Perez defeated Ellison in a 235-200 vote among the Democratic National Committee‘s 435 members who cast ballots Saturday.

It took two rounds of voting to select a winner after Perez found himself just one vote shy in the first ballot. The five other candidates, who had amassed 13.5 total votes, all exited the race before the second round began.

In a victory speech, Perez vowed that Democrats would wage an all-out battle to deny Trump a second term.

“We are at a ‘where were you?’ moment in American history: Where were you in 2017 when we had the worst President in US history?” he said.

Immediately after winning, Perez made a quick move to bring Ellison’s supporters into the fold — appointing Ellison as the deputy chair of the DNC, to cheers and unanimous approval from the crowd.

Ellison called on Democrats to support Perez.

“It’s my honor to serve this party under the chairmanship of Tom Perez,” he said.

The results brought a chaotic close to a race that stretched on for three months. In the waning days, former Vice President Joe Biden and several aides to former President Barack Obama — including Valerie Jarrett and David Simas — made calls to undecided members in an effort to sway them toward Perez.

In Ellison’s camp, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and supportive members of Congress applied pressure on DNC members with phone calls.

Obama touted what he said was the party’s track record of expanding the economy, creating new jobs, keeping Americans safe through “tough, smart” foreign policy, and expanding the right to health insurance.

“That’s a legacy the Democratic Party will always carry forward,” Obama said. “I know that Tom Perez will unite us under that banner of opportunity, and lay the groundwork for a new generation of Democratic leadership for this big, bold, inclusive, dynamic America we love so much.”

In a tweet, Hillary Clinton congratulated Perez and Ellison, writing: “Excited for strong, unified party standing for best of our country into the future.”

Perez, a Maryland Democrat who worked in Obama’s Justice Department before serving as labor secretary and making Clinton’s short list for the vice presidential nomination, made overtures to Ellison’s backers in his nomination speech before the votes were cast.

“Good leaders are great listeners. You will always have my ear, and I will always have your back,” Perez told the crowd, promising to “plan strategy together, lift each other up together.”

“You will not be underutilized,” he said. “You are of import in everything we do. The most important question you will hear from me is, ‘What do you think?'”

“Angie Martinez Day” Declared in New York City

Angie Martinez is having a field day with her new honor…

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican radio personality, former rapper and actress will now have a day dedicated to her in the Big Apple.

Angie Martinez

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently held a press conference to present the 105.1 radio host, known as “The Voice of New York,” with a City Proclamation, where he announced that November 19 would be recognized as “Angie Martinez Day” in Manhattan.

The announcement comes in light of Puerto Rican Heritage Month.

The mayor recognized Martinez as a proud spokesperson for her fellow puertorriqueños and also called her an “icon” in the world of entertainment and hip-hop, according to Huffington Post.

“She really has become an icon, a virtuous icon,” de Blasio said. “An icon that makes people very proud. Makes us proud as New Yorkers, makes the entire Latino community proud and particularly makes the Puerto Rican community proud.”

The mayor also took to Twitter to express his excitement for Martinez, writing “NYC wouldn’t be NYC w/o our puertorriqueños! Pleasure to be with @angiemartinez @mmviverito tonight in celebration.”

Martinez’s afternoon radio show has consistently been ranked No. 1 with more young listeners than any other radio program in the country. She’s also released two albums and appeared in films like Blood is Thicker Than Water and Paper Soldiers.

 

Lopez Named NYC’s New Leader of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment

Cynthia Lopez is the new leader of the Big Apple’s film and television community…

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has named the Latina film and television veteran as New York City’s new commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

Cynthia Lopez

The native New Yorker, who served as executive vice president and co-executive producer of American Documentary and PBS documentary series POV, has more than two decades of experience in New York City’s film and television industries.

At POV, she was responsible for all aspects of development including programming, community engagement, digital strategies and overall strategic growth of the organization.

During Lopez’s tenure, POV earned numerous awards and last year was one of only 13 nonprofits worldwide to receive a $1 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

“The film and television industries are central to New York City’s cultural vitality and to economic strength,” de Blasio said in a statement. “Cynthia has the experience and understands how the industry works in the city, and as commissioner, she will lead the administration’s efforts to continue keeping New York City a top filming destination — while opening up the industry to New Yorkers from all five boroughs.”

Lopez has made it a priority to promote the work of filmmakers from traditionally unrepresented groups and mentor first-time filmmakers, but she’s also something of a left-field choice, with insiders describing her as a sleeper candidate with extensive experience.

“Having spent my entire career working in the television and film industries in New York, I’m honored to join the de Blasio administration,” Lopez said in a statement. “New York City is a thriving center of production and home to thousands of creative professionals who contribute to the film and television industries — and I look forward to leading the administration’s efforts to drive more film production to New York.”

The commission over the last decade has revitalized the city’s film and TV production, bringing millions of dollars to the state via aggressive tax credits and a streamlined permit process. Currently 29 TV series are based in New York, while an average of 200 films — from tentpole blockbusters to indies — are shot here each year. It is estimated that 130,000 New Yorkers work behind the scenes in film and TV production.

Since 2004, film and television production has grown from $5 billion to $7.1 billion, with such films as Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah and Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Streetand Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2filming in New York. 

Television also thrived under Bloomberg’s reign with The Blacklist, Person of Interest, Girls and The Good Wife (where de Blasio made a recent guest appearance in a taxi cab video) becoming staples on New York City streets, and the growth of numerous studios including Steiner Studios, Silvercup, Kaufman Astoria and Broadway Stages.

Steiner Studios chairman Douglas C. Steiner said of de Blasio’s pick, “It’s incredibly challenging to produce television shows and feature films. It’s exponentially more difficult to make documentaries. Cynthia Lopez has had a stellar career in the documentary field. We’re thrilled with her selection as the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment — her experience in the trenches will help make New York City even more attractive to the exploding industry of content creation, which is vital to the city’s future.”