Tampa's Frank Sanchez a Commerce chief?
Wake up and good morning. Frank Sanchez, U.S. Commerce Secretary? It's not a completely far-fetched idea. After stepping down from his ill-fated tenure at Tampa's Renaissance Steel (chronicled on this Venture blog last month), Sanchez -- the former Tampa mayoral candidate and Obama fundraiser -- has been spending most of his time in Washington helping with the transition to the new Obama administration. But now that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has taken himself out of the running for Commerce Secretary, the name of Sanchez -- another Hispanic, like Richardson -- has popped up on the "should this be the one?" radar. Not necessarily, as noted in this Investors Business Daily editorial on Jan. 5:
"Instead of the identity-politics-friendly names being floated as replacements for Richardson — East Los Angeles Rep. Xavier Becerra, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Washington attorney and fundraiser Scott Harris, Tampa attorney and fundraiser Frank Sanchez and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm — Obama should look for someone who deeply understands business."
Investors Business Daily suggests Obama need look no further than the current occupant of the commerce secretary's office, Carlos Gutierrez, an Hispanic "whose competence and effectiveness aren't disputed." Though there are at least two Latinos advising the transition at top levels -- Federico Pena, former secretary of energy under Bill Clinton and Sanchez, who is a top fundraiser for Obama’s Latino campaign -- some say Obama’s inner circle lacks Latinos and Latino sensibilities. As this "Feet in 2 Worlds" blog notes, there's plenty of pressure coming from those who believe the Latino vote made a huge difference for the president-elect in key western states. Stay tuned on where Sanchez lands.
(Photo: St. Petersburg Times)
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist