Just a day after officially announcing that she will be running for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton announced Jose Villarreal as her campaign treasurer. Villarreal is no stranger to the political world or to Clinton campaigns. Between his experience on numerous presidential campaigns in past years, alongside his strong ties to the Latino community, Villarreal should be able to effectively support Clinton as her campaign treasurer, while also helping her to play into a key Democratic base.
Villarreal, 60, first served in a Clinton campaign in 1992 when he was a deputy campaign manager for the Clinton-Gore campaign. His first time working for Hillary Clinton was in 2008, when he served as senior adviser during her first presidential campaign. Villarreal has also served as a co-chair of the Kerry-Edwards campaign, and he was the national treasurer of the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.
Villarreal was born in Indiana and received most of his education there. He got his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Purdue University and he got his J.D. degree from Indiana University School of Law. Villarreal then became a member of the State Bar of Texas and served as an assistant attorney general in the Public Finance Division of the Texas attorney general’s office. Most recently, Villarreal served as a senior consulting adviser to the law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, and prior to that he was a partner in the firm.
Aside from Villarreal’s professional qualifications for the role of campaign treasurer in Clinton’s campaign, he also boasts many civic engagement involvements that could prove useful to Clinton’s campaign. According to Villarreal’s profile on the U.S.-Mexico Foundation website, he has been a presence in Latino activism through his chairmanship of the board of the National Council of La Raza and as vice chair of the board of the U.S. Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Close-Up Foundation, a civic education organization.
Cristóbal Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project who has helped many Latino Democrats win office, said to BuzzFeed of Clinton’s decision to bring on Villarreal:
Building a successful strategy to reach Latino donors and voters starts with having members of the community in key decision making roles. I applaud the Clinton campaign for bringing on Jose Villarreal. Much of this election cycle will be focused on how effectively campaigns can register, educate and turn out Latino voters. And the Clinton team is taking this challenge seriously.
When Obama ran for office, the Latino voter base was key to his victory. According to BuzzFeed, Obama earned 71 percent of Latino voters’ support, and Clinton is keen to do the same.
Villarreal marks the second Latino member of Clinton’s team. Clinton chose Amanda Renteria, the first Latina chief of staff to a senator and former congressional candidate, to be her political director.
Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to Jose Villarreal as a Mexican citizen, not American. Bustle apologizes for this error.
Images: Purdue University (1); Getty Images (1)