Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, the progressive first-term lawmaker, is one of several high-profile Latinos slated to participate in the Democratic National Convention next week.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro will also have roles in next week’s event, Democratic officials tell CNN. While the exact schedule is still being finalized, the lineup comes as the party seeks to highlight the diversity of its members and supporters as Joe Biden officially becomes its presidential nominee.
Ocasio-Cortez, an early endorser of Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid, will be part of a segment nominating the senator from Vermont at the convention on Tuesday night, the officials said, and she also will be featured in a video airing on Wednesday. The congresswoman’s participation further highlights the Biden campaign’s efforts to bring the progressive wing of the party into the fold.
After Sanders ended his 2020 run, Ocasio-Cortez served as a co-chair of a climate change task force between supporters of the Sanders and Biden campaigns, one of several unity commissions the two teams developed.
Lujan Grisham and Cortez Masto, who were among the early names mentioned as possible contenders for the Democratic vice presidential nomination, will have individual speaking slots at the convention along with California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who endorsed Biden during the primaries.
Castro, who delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, will be part of a segment featuring former 2020 presidential candidates.
Several Latino elected officials who endorsed Biden during the primary will also have roles in the convention – Nevada state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, Long Beach, California, Mayor Robert Garcia and Texas state Rep. Victoria Neave.
“Latinos are an integral part of the fabric of this nation, which is why we are making significant efforts to ensure Latino voices and experiences are highlighted throughout the Democratic National Convention,” said Julie Chávez Rodriguez, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign. “Latino voters are critical to our path to victory, and as we continue to make our case for Vice President Biden, we will keep investing in reaching out to Latino voters and uplifting individual stories to showcase the diversity and experiences of Latinos throughout the country.”
Democrats have significantly scaled back their convention plans and have turned to a mostly virtual format for their event due to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden and his future running mate will no longer travel to Milwaukee to accept the nomination in person. The former vice president is expected to deliver his acceptance speech in his home state of Delaware.
The theme of the convention, which will take place August 17-20, is “Uniting America,” which represents a guiding principle of Biden’s campaign.
The first night of events, next Monday, will feature Sanders, former first lady Michelle Obama, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, as the convention seeks to showcase a wide swath of Biden’s supporters. Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a former rival of Biden’s, are slated to speak on Wednesday night.
Democrats have also announced they will feature “voters of all kinds,” including a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient from Mexico City who works as a paramedic in Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic and a Wisconsin teacher who works in an elementary school bilingual program and has had to adapt to teaching amid the global health crisis.
Political conventions typically feature four full days of programming, but this year’s Democratic event will be condensed into two hours of prime-time coverage over four nights.