Obama Cabinet: 7 People Who Could Have Been on It

PHOTO: US President Barack Obama (center R) holds a Cabinet Meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 26, 2012.
Saul Loeb/Getty Images

President Barack Obama's Cabinet of advisers is shaping up to be mostly white men. With Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar set to depart, no Latinos remain, and there are only a few women.

Certainly the men and women currently holding Cabinet positions or nominated to succeed outgoing members are qualified. And increasing diversity at the expense of quality isn't a smart move either. But it's also clear that there are more women, especially minority women, qualified for the jobs.

Here are a handful of people who could have been considered for certain positions.

Linda Chavez-Thompson (center) at the 2008 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver, Colorado.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Labor Secretary - Linda Chavez-Thompson

Chavez-Thompson worked as an agricultural laborer before becoming both the first woman and first Latino to serve as executive vice president of the powerful AFL-CIO labor union in the mid-1990s. She also ran for lieutenant governor of Texas in the 2010 election, and she is a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Chavez-Thompson has also pushed for immigration reform and fought for minimum wage increases for workers. As someone who has both experienced life as a day laborer and worked with lawmakers on labor and union issues, she is uniquely situated to understand how labor policies impact workers.

Argilagos is the current deputy chief of staff for operatons, programs and partnerships for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary - Ana Marie Argilagos

Argilagos is the current deputy chief of staff for operations, programs and partnerships for the department, meaning she works closely with the current secretary's office and is familiar with his day-to-day responsibilities.

A leader in the Latino community – she previously worked at the Latino advocacy group National Council of La Raza – Argilagos has placed special emphasis on helping disadvantaged, minority communities.

Maria Contreras-Sweet is the executive chairwoman and founder of Promérica Bank.
Treasury Secretary - Maria Contreras-Sweet

Contreras-Sweet is the executive chairwoman and founder of Promérica Bank, and she has worked specifically to help Latino business owners.

She also has experience in the public sector. Contreras-Sweet served as the cabinet secretary of business, transportation and housing under California Governor Gray Davis, where she oversaw a multi-billion dollar budget and thousands of people. She has also worked with the Commerce Department, serving as chairwoman of the 2000 Census count in California.

Maria Echaveste advised former President Bill Clinton.
Commerce Secretary - Maria Echaveste

Echaveste served as an advisor to former President Bill Clinton and as his deputy chief of staff. During her time at the White House, Echaveste championed fair labor laws and overtime pay.

Currently a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress, Echaveste worked in corporate litigation before entering public service. She managed Clinton's domestic policy initiatives, handling everything from education and bankruptcy to immigration and disaster relief. She founded the Nueva Vista group after leaving the White House, which works with businesses and organizations on a variety of issues, including labor and finances.

Michele A. Flournoy, US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, speaks during a Capitol Hill hearing in 2011.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Defense Secretary - Michele Flournoy

Flournoy is the former undersecretary of defense for policy. While she's never served in the military, she has worked in the national security arena for years, including on counterinsurgency strategies for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

She has been instrumental in recruiting more women to work in the male-dominated Pentagon. She also founded her own think tank, the Center for a New American Security, which urges troops to work with local people in war zones.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris speaks to reporters in July 2012 in San Francisco,.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Attorney General – Kamala Harris

Harris is the first female, African-American and Indian-American attorney general in California. The former San Francisco district attorney has been an advocate of reducing recidivism rates by limiting the appeal and accessibility of criminal activity.

She has focused her efforts on ensuring that banks treat homeowners fairly, and she created a hate crimes unit during her time in San Francisco aimed at reducing crimes against gay and lesbian students.

Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the Washington D.C. public school system,in Sun Valley, Idaho, 2011.
Matthew Staver/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Education Secretary - Michelle Rhee

Michelle Rhee served as controversial chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools from 2007 to 2010, where she fought to tie teacher tenure to student achievement. She closed a number of under-enrolled schools and trimmed office jobs. She also advocated early childhood education programs and programs for gifted children.

After leaving her role as chancellor, Rhee founded StudentsFirst, a nonprofit organization focused on education reform.

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