10 Latino Campaign Staffers Shaping the 2016 Presidential Election

Lead Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / AP
Jacquelyn Martin / AP
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For the 2016 election season, Latinos are projected to carry the next United States president into the White House. As Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton vie for the Latino vote, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda wanted assurance that – unlike fair weather fans – the candidates are truly ride or die for the Latino community.

On February 25, the organization sent a 20-question survey to all presidential hopefuls asking what roles Latinos will play in their cabinets. Only Clinton and Sanders responded, according to Reuters.

“From special assistants to cabinet members, Latinos will play a key role in helping to shape my policy priorities and be effectively represented in our agencies,” Clinton said. Sanders said he’d continue to back the Latino community by hiring a staff that reflects “the diverse make-up of the country… I can think of no place more vital for such diversity than in the cabinet and the Senior Executive Service of the President of the United States of America.”

Though only time (and a win) will tell if they stay true to their word, the two have made efforts to include Latinos on their campaign teams. As a matter of fact, Hillary Clinton hired the first DREAMer, Lorella Praeli, and Sanders soon followed with César Vargas. For Republican candidates, finding a Latino outreach coordinator is not quite as simple.

Still, Latinos have made their mark in the 2016 elections. Here are just 10 staffers contributing to the Sanders and Clinton campaigns:


Amanda Renteria

Team: Hillary Clinton
Position: National Political Director

Amanda Renteria, the first Latina to serve as a Senate chief of staff, has Mexican roots. She graduated from Stanford, and attended Harvard Business School. In a statement, Renteria explained why she chose to join Clinton’s side. “Whether it’s providing health coverage for millions of children, registering voters to make sure everyone has a voice or supporting comprehensive immigration reform, Hillary Clinton has always stood on the side of Latino families and I’m honored to have the chance to elect her as our 45th president,” she said, according to NBC.


Arturo Carmona

Team: Bernie Sanders
Position: Latino Outreach Director and Southwest Political Director

Arturo Carmona is the executive director of, and though he’s a civil rights activist, he never imagined a life in politics. But Sanders’ message drew him in. “When I saw the political campaign and Sen. Sanders calling for a political revolution and people from all walks of life joining this movement, I said ‘Hey, this is something I’ve seen that can make a difference.’ I decided to join because I see a great need,” he said, according to NBC.


Betsaida Alcantara

Team: Hillary Clinton
Position: Director of Media Planning

Betsaida Alcantara worked with Julián Castro before moving on to the director of media planning for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. On top of that, she also worked for the Obama administration for six years and as a press secretary for the Environmental Protection Agency. Dominican-born Alcantara grew up in New York, and she became the first in her family to attend college, according to NBC.


César Vargas

Donald Bowers/2013 Getty Images

Team: Bernie Sanders
Position: Latino Outreach Strategist

César Vargas fights for the rights of immigrants in the United States and is a co-founder of the Dream Action Coalition. He made history this year when he became the first DREAMer allowed to practice law in the state of New York.

Vargas really took notice of Sanders during the refugee crisis that brought many unaccompanied minors from Central America to the United States. “Like a lot of DREAMers, Senator Sanders said we needed to protect those children,” Vargas told Fusion.


Erika Andiola

Yuri Gripas for The New York Times

Team: Bernie Sanders
Position: National Latinx Press Secretary for Presidential Candidate

Erika Andiola rose to prominence as an immigration activist in 2013 after immigration officials raided her home and separated her from her family. Before she chose to join Bernie’s camp, each of the major Democratic candidates contacted Andiola for advice on immigration policy, meaning that she’s had a hand in more than just Sanders’ Latino outreach, according to BuzzFeed. Andiola is known as the most famous DREAMer.


Francisco Díez

Francisco Díez Facebook

Team: Bernie Sanders
Position: National Latino Outreach Strategist

Francisco Díez originally served as a field organizer for Nashua, New Hampshire, but this year, he became a national Latino outreach strategist. Díez is a New York-born Latino of Mexican descent.


Jose Villarreal

Team: Hillary Clinton
Position: Treasurer

Just a day after announcing her presidential bid, Jose Villarreal joined Team Hillary as the treasurer. Villarreal helped Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992 as deputy campaign manager, and also worked as senior adviser to Hillary during her 2008 run, according to BuzzFeed.


Lorella Praeli


Team: Hillary Clinton
Position: Latino Outreach Director

In December 2015, Lorella Praeli celebrated her naturalization by posting an image of her passport. Born in Peru, Praeli arrived in the U.S. at age 10 for medical treatment. At 2 years old, she lost part of leg after a drunk driver hit her.

Praeli has worked as the Advocacy and Policy Director for United We Dream.“Bringing Lorella into our campaign is the next step in making sure families aren’t living in fear of deportation, all students have the chance to go to college, and that any comprehensive immigration reform ensures full and equal citizenship,” said Amanda Renteria, the Clinton campaign’s political director, according to NBC News.


Susana Cervantes

Team: Bernie Sanders
Position: Deputy Political Director, Iowa

Susana Cervantes previously worked as the Western Iowa field director for Run Warren Run, and her grassroots organizing likely drew Sanders to her. In 2012, she worked in Las Vegas as a field organizer for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.


Xochitl Hinojosa

Team: Hillary Clinton
Position: Director of Coalitions Press

Before signing on as director of coalitions press, Xochitl Hinojosa worked for the Department of Labor under Secretary Tom Perez. Hinojosa is the daughter of Texas Democratic Party Chairman, according to BuzzFeed.