Julian Castro to Serve as Political Analyst on NBC News & MSNBC

Julian Castro is ready to examine our political landscape…

The 46-year-old Mexican American lawyer and politician, who was the youngest member of President Barack Obama‘s cabinet when he served as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has joined NBC News and MSNBC as a political analyst.

Julian Castro

Castro ran for president in the 2020 cycle. Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski announced his new role in an appearance on the show on Monday, as Castro joined to talk about voting rights and the debate over amending the filibuster.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) has called on President Joe Biden to support changes to the U.S. Senate rule.

“The problem is that we really haven’t seen any activity. We haven’t seen any push from the Oval Office on this issue, and you can see that, you know, that the impatience is growing among Democrats,” Castro said on Morning Joe.

Castro served as HUD secretary from 2014 to 2017, after serving as mayor of San Antonio. He launched his presidential campaign in January, 2019, one of the first candidates to get in the race, but dropped out almost a year later. He went on to endorse Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Castro is one of the few 2020 presidential contenders to go on to cable news gigs, given the sheer number of candidates who still hold elective office. After he dropped out of the presidential race, Andrew Yang joined CNN as a political commentator, but he then went on to run for mayor of New York.

Colman Domingo to Appear at the Democratic National Committee’s Upcoming Pride Celebration Fundraiser

Colman Domingo is celebrating Pride with the DNC

The 51-year-old Guatemalan American actor will take part in a special Pride Celebration fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee next week.

Colman Domingo

Vice President Kamala Harris will headline the event, which will include a number of performances and an introduction by Barbra Streisand.

The DNC traditionally hosts a Pride month event, but the fundraiser also speaks to the desire among party activists to have a large war chest heading into next year’s midterms.

The performers on the bill for the virtual event on June 30 include Andra Day, Billy Porter, Kristin Chenoweth and Melissa Etheridge.

In addition to Domingo, other stars making appearances include Andy Cohen, George Takei, Matt Bomer and Whoopi Goldberg.

Tickets to the event start at $50, and rise to $20,000 for a co-host designation and access to a VIP “clutch.” Those who write or raise $40,000 will get a host designation and access to the clutch. The New York Times first reported on the event.

The DNC raised $12.1 million in May, according to reports to the Federal Election Commission, while the Republican National Committee raised about $11.1 million. Those are hefty sums for an off-year period and, according to Bloomberg News, a record amount.

Last year, as the pandemic prevented in-person fundraising, Democrats capitalized on the ease of holding virtual events, both in drawing talent and in bringing in greater numbers of small-dollar donors.

Mariah Carey Urges Fans to #CallOutYourSenator” in Campaign to Save Anti-Voter Supression ‘For the People Act’

Mariah Carey is encouraging you to help stop voter suppression efforts…

The 52-year-old half-Venezuelan American singer has joined several stars, including John Legend and Common, to urge their fans to #calloutyoursenator in a viral campaign to save the anti-voter suppression For the People Act.

Mariah Carey

Carey and the other stars have joined the Twitter campaign urging a bipartisan group of four U.S. senators to vote in favor of the bill that has already passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and is pending, but imperiled, in the U.S. Senate.

“No matter our color, party, or zip code, our voices and our votes count. @senatorsinema @joemanchinWV @senatortimscott @senrobportman can make that happen,” tweeted Common referring to a group of, respectively, two democrat and two republican senators who could serve as the pivotal votes in favor of the bill. “If you live in AZ, WV, SC or OH #CallOutYourSenators. Tell them VOTE YES on the #ForThePeopleAct.”

Carey, Legend, Evanescence‘s Amy Lee and actors Kerry WashingtonLeonardo DiCaprio and comedians Sarah Silverman and Billy Eichner have also joined the campaign to salvage a bill that enjoys support from nearly all the Democrats in the Senate, but is in danger of falling short due to democratic holdouts Machin and Sinema.

As former president Donald Trump and a number of his Republican allies continue to spread the unfounded “Big Lie” alleging massive voter suppression in the 2020 election — which election integrity experts said was actually the most secure vote in the nation’s history — the Senate is stalled on passing the bill that would, among other things, outlaw partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, overhaul campaign finance laws, make federal campaign spending more transparent and protect early voting while requiring states to adopt Automatic Voter Registration.

According to a recent survey, 67 percent of Americans are in favor of the bill, which has effectively been put on ice due to West Virginia democrat Sen. Manchin’s stated refusal to vote for it, which means it will fall short of the 50 votes necessary to break a filibuster; fellow democrat Arizona Sen. Sinema has also said she would not support the bill known as “S 1.”

Experts say passage in the Senate is vital to combat the hundreds of bills introduced (and passed) in Republican-led states so far this year that aim to gut early, vote-by-mail and no-excuse voting, repealing automatic voter registration and limit the powers of local officials to oversee elections, among other actions that critics say would heavily impact, young and Black voters.

George P. Bush Announces Bid for Texas Attorney General

George P. Bush is lookin’ to move up in Texas politics….

The 45-year-old half-Mexican American politician, currently serving as Texas Land Commissioner, has announced that he’s running for attorney general in the Lone Star State, setting up a GOP showdown with one of the most high-profile Republican attorneys general in the country, Ken Paxton.

George P. Bush

“I am proud to announce I am a Republican candidate to be the next Texas attorney general,” he said before supporters in Austin.

Bush came out swinging in his campaign announcement, taking shots at Paxton, who is currently under indictment for securities fraud and, separately, facing an FBI investigation for abuse of office.

“Enough is enough, Ken. You’ve brought way too much scandal and too little integrity to this office,” Bush said. “It’s time to go.”

Bush — the son of former two-term Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush and the grandson of the late former President George H.W. Bush — is running as a supporter of former President Donald Trump, despite the at-times blistering feud between Trump and the Bush family.

At a campaign kickoff event in downtown Austin, supporters praised Bush as the future of the Republican Party in Texas and highlighted his support of Trump as a key credential.

“I think we can all agree that President Trump was one of the best things to happen to this country,” Karen Newton, immediate past president of Texas Federation of Republican Women, said onstage as one of the introductory speakers before Bush.

Joacim Hernandez, vice chair of the Texas Young Republican Federation, argued Bush is uniquely positioned to unite the GOP. “He has a track record of support for President Trump and his America First policies, but he also has a track record of character and integrity.”

As land commissioner since 2015, Bush has long been viewed by political observers as a rising star in the GOP. He speaks Spanish and was involved in the founding of the political group Hispanic Republicans of Texas. He was also an officer in the Navy Reserves and a former businessman, with a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

Paxton, meanwhile, has been state attorney general since 2015 after serving in the Texas Legislature for more than a decade as both a state representative and state senator. He was highly active in filing federal lawsuits during the Barack Obama administration — most notably, he led a 20-state challenge against the Affordable Care Act — and has filed multiple suits against the Joe Biden administration over a range of issues from immigration to Medicaid.

A staunch ally of Trump, Paxton also led the lawsuit contesting election results in four states that Trump lost in November. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit.

Clouding Paxton’s run for reelection will be the FBI investigation and separate indictment. Paxton vehemently denies the charges and allegations.

Bush has made it clear he won’t be shy in going after Paxton’s legal issues.

“We have a web of corruption and lies that affect one of the highest offices in our land and it’s time for a change,” Bush said.

Bush will make South Texas — where Trump made heavy inroads in November — a key part of his strategy, and he plans to make his first official campaign trip to the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday.

Given his political connections and Paxton’s legal troubles, Bush is expected to raise significant cash for the race.

Alex Padilla Sworn In by Predecessor Kamala Harris as California’s First Mexican American & Hispanic U.S. Senator

Alex Padilla is officially representing the Great State of California

Democrats took control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2015, as Vice President Kamala Harris swore in the 47-year-old Mexican American politician as her appointed successor, as well as Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who won their races against Republican incumbents in Georgia his month.

Alex Padilla

On December 22, 2020, California governor Gavin Newsom appointed Padilla to succeed Harris in the Senate, after Harris was elected as vice president. He’s the first Mexican American and Hispanic senator from California, the first senator from Southern California since 1992, and the first male senator to represent the state since 1993.

“I need to catch my breath, so much is happening,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who now is the new majority leader.

Alex Padilla

The Senate split is 50-50 now, but Democrats will have the edge because Harris has a tie-breaking vote. That might be needed, as Joe Biden tries to usher through a series of legislative priorities, including a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package and immigration reform.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will be the president pro tem of the Senate, which is third in line for the presidency following the vice president and Speaker of the House.

With Democratic control of Congress and the White House, there is some expectation that legislation will face legal challenges, as Donald Trump was able to appoint more than 200 judges to the federal bench, including three Supreme Court seats.

Edward James Olmos to Take Part in Biden Inaugural Committee’s “Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise” Event

Edward James Olmos is preparing to celebrate the resilience and promise of the Latino community in the United States…

President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee has announced a Tuesday night event, featuring the 73-year-old Mexican American actor, director, producer, and activist, that shines a spotlight on the Latino community.

Edward James Olmos

Entitled Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise, the event will be hosted by Eva Longoria.

It will feature appearances by Olmos, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Leguizamo, Rita Moreno, Ivy Queen and Becky G.

There also will be performances from Gilberto Santa Rosa and Gaby Moreno, featuring David Garza, Emilio Estefan and All-Star Tejanos UnitedStefani Montiel, Jose Posada, Shelly Lares, DJ Kane and Mariachi Nuevo Santander from Roma High School.

Emilio Estefan produced a performance of One World, One Prayer by the Wailers, featuring Skip Marley, Farruko, Shaggy and Cedella Marley.

The event will take palace on Tuesday, January 19 at 9:30 pm ET

 

It’s part of a series of events that will highlight the nation’s diversity, including the AAPI Inaugural Ball: Breaking Barriers, celebrating the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities; and We Are One, celebrating Black Americans.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Swear in U.S. Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris

Sonia Sotomayor will make a special appearance at this week’s inauguration…

The 66-year-old Puerto Rican Supreme Court Justice will swear in U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Wednesday, January 20, a ceremony in which the first woman of color to become vice president will take her oath of office from the first woman of color to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sonia Sotomayor

Harris chose Sotomayor for the task, according to a Harris aide who was confirming a report by ABC News. The vice president-elect and Justice Sotomayor have a shared background as former prosecutors. And Harris has called the justice a figure of national inspiration.

“Judge Sonia Sotomayor has fought for the voices of the people ever since her first case voting against corporations in Citizens United,” Ms. Harris wrote on Twitter in 2019. “As a critical voice on the bench, she’s showing all our children what’s possible.”

Justice Sotomayor, who was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2009, swore in Joseph R. Biden Jr. for his second term as vice president in January 2013 (first in a private ceremony and again in public the next day because of a quirk of the calendar).

Sotomayor was born in The Bronx, New York City, to Puerto Rican-born parents. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1976 and received her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1979, where she was an editor at the Yale Law Journal. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York for four and a half years before entering private practice in 1984. She played an active role on the boards of directors for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the State of New York Mortgage Agency, and the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush in 1991; confirmation followed in 1992. In 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Her nomination was slowed by the Republican majority in the U.St Senate, but she was eventually confirmed in 1998. On the Second Circuit, Sotomayor heard appeals in more than 3,000 cases and wrote about 380 opinions. Sotomayor has taught at the New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School.

Eva Longoria to Take Part in Presidential & Vice Presidential Inauguration Special “Celebrating America”

Eva Longoria is celebrating America in a special way…

The 45-year-old Mexican American actress and producer will introduce segments during the two-hour Joe Biden and Kamala Harris inauguration special that starts at 8:30 pm ET on January 20th.

Eva Longoria

While Tom Hanks will serve as the official host the program, Longoria and Kerry Washington will reprise their duties from last summer’s semi-virtual Democratic National Convention, which had the same producers.

The Celebrating America television special will air on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and more next week.

Biden and Harris are scheduled to give remarks of their own during Celebrating America.

The finale for the five-day America United themed event in a deeply and violently divided nation, Celebrating America has already made public that Justin Timberlake will be busting a move or two onstage. Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons and that other Garden State superstar Jon Bon Jovi will be performing also.

More acts and big names are expected to be revealed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee in the next few days.

Along with the TV networks, Celebrating America will be seen on Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW from Fox, and AT&T DIRECTV and U-verse as well as the PIC’s social media feeds.

Cristela Alonzo to Take Part in “America’s Changemakers” Event to Kick Off Five Nights of Presidential Inauguration Festivities

Cristela Alonzo is preparing for a presidential presentation…

The Biden/Harris Presidential Inaugural Committee announced additional programming in advance of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on January 20, with the 42-year-old Mexican American comedian/actress taking part in the festivities.

Cristela Alonzo

The theme of the now five consecutive nights of events is “America United.”

On Saturday, January 16, Alonzo will take part in America United: An Inauguration Welcome Event Celebrating America’s Changemakers.

The event will “celebrate America, reflect and honor our history, and highlight the incredible diversity of the nation” and kick off the five days of programming.

In addition to Alonzo, the roster of participants includes Whoopi Goldberg, actor Nik Dodani, musician Darren Criss, Representative Grace Meng, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Resistance Revival Choir will participate. The Welcome Event will feature a special performance by Adrian Quesada and his Grammy-nominated Black Pumas. It’ll stream live from 7:00-8:30 pm ET at bideninaugural.org and on Presidential Inaugural Committee social media pages.

Also announced is United We Serve: A Celebration of the National MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 18. According to the news release, thousands of volunteers across the country will participate in the National Day of Service, which will then be celebrated by entertainers and inspiring speakers like Aloe Blacc, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, Martin Luther King III, Chesca, Rep. Sharice Davids, Rosario Dawson, Andra Day, Yo-Yo Ma, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sean Patrick Thomas, Diane Warren, Lynn Whitfield and Bebe Winans. The event will stream live from 8:00-9:00 pm ET at bideninaugural.org and on the inaugural committee’s social media pages.

Other events include the Memorial and Nationwide Tribute to Remember and Honor the Lives Lost to Covid-19 on Tuesday the 19th. At 5:30 pm ET, a D.C. ceremony will feature a lighting around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. The inaugural committee has invited cities and towns around the country to join in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells.

Inauguration Day events include President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery with former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and the former First Ladies in attendance.

Tom Hanks will host the primetime Celebrating America special that will culminate the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Along with appearances from the 46th POTUS and 49th VPOTUS, the Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss-produced 90-minute show will feature “The Star-Spangled Banner” courtesy of Lady Gaga; a “musical performance” by Jennifer Lopez, the details of which were not disclosed; and performances from Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons and longtime Democrat supporter Jon Bon Jovi.

Celebrating America will air on multiple networks. Starting at 8:30 pm ET, the unity-aiming special will be carried by ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN. Additionally, the Weiss-directed show will be seen on Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW from Fox, and AT&T DIRECTV and U-verse, as well as the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s social media feeds.

President-Elect Joe Biden Nominates Isabel Guzman to Lead Small Business Administration

Isabel Guzman is joining the Biden administration…

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped the Latina small business advocate to lead the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Isabel Guzman

Guzman is the director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, a post she has held since April 2019.

Previously, Guzman worked at the SBA under former President Barack Obama as deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to the administrator.

Small businesses have been hit particularly hard due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the SBA under President Donald Trump was in charge of accepting applications for loans through the popular Paycheck Protection Program.

Guzman, if confirmed, would oversee any extensions to the loan program, which was intended to provide small businesses with forgivable loans to keep their businesses afloat and keep employees on their payrolls.

The program just received a $284 billion injection from the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill passed in December.

Guzman’s nomination is a win for the Latina community who has called for more representation in Biden’s Cabinet. Following his election victory in November, the former vice president promised to create a “Cabinet that looks like America.”

Small Business for America’s Future, a coalition of small business owners, congratulated Guzman for the nomination.