Obama Picks Former Campaign Official Katherine Archuleta as OPM Director

PHOTO: President Barack Obama walks towards the podium to make a statement on the Internal Revenue Services targeting of conservative groups for extra tax scrutiny in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday May 15, 2013.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

President Obama will nominate former campaign official Katherine Archuleta as director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on Thursday, according to a White House official.

Archuleta served as national political director for Obama's 2012 reelection campaign. She was the first Latina to serve in that role on a major presidential campaign, the White House said. Former OPM director John Berry's term expired last month.

Obama's appointment of Archuleta comes after the president faced pressure from Latino advocacy groups to appoint Hispanics to serve in his second-term cabinet. More than seven in ten Latinos voted for Obama in last year's election, but the number of Latino cabinet members is set to fall from two to one.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar both left the administration this year. Thomas Perez, a former Justice Department official, was nominated to fill Solis' position at the Department of Labor.

The position of OPM director is not a cabinet-level role. The agency, however, does oversee the hiring of federal employees and the pension and insurance plans for federal retirees. That role has become increasingly important as the federal government grapples with across-the-board sequestration spending cuts. The $85 billion in cuts this year alone have caused agencies to furlough employees.

Before serving as the Obama campaign's political director in 2012, Archuleta was chief of staff to Solis at the Department of Labor. A Colorado native, she worked as a senior adviser to Denver's first Latino, Mayor Federico Peña (D), from 2005 to 2009.

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