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Liza Acevedo and Vanessa Valdivia are in new WH roles.
Liza Acevedo and Vanessa Valdivia are in new WH roles. Photos: DHS (left), Twitter- @vvaldiv (right)

First Lady and Second Gentleman pick two Latinas for communications roles

Jill Biden has a new press secretary and Doug Emhoff a new communications director.

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Vanessa Valdivia and Liza Acevedo were recently announced as First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff’s new press secretary and communications director, respectively. Acevedo was most recently the deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, and Valdivia was most recently the communications director for Sen. Alex Padilla. 

“I feel very proud,” Acevedo told NBC News. “And I feel very ready to make a difference working on behalf of the administration to help communities, including the Latino community." 

Biden’s communications director Elizabeth Alexander also spoke to CNN about the hire. 

“Vanessa’s combination of strategic communications skills, expertise, and experience, as well as her commitment to public service, will make her a tremendous addition to our team — We look forward to welcoming her in the coming weeks,” she said. 

This comes after the First Lady’s former press secretary Michael LaRosa resigned back in July. 

Born and raised to a Puerto Rican family in New York, Acevedo was the first in her family to attend and graduate from college. She attended Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where she majored in economics. Prior to working in the White House, Acevedo was a director at the communications firm SKDK. 

On the Biden-Harris transition team, she there helped lead the COVID communications. For Obama appointed housing secretary Julián Castro, Acevedo served as his deputy press secretary during his 2020 bid. She additionally served in a communications role under New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. 

Valdivia, the daughter of Mexican-Nicaraguan parents, will also be special assistant to President Biden. Before this, she served as communications director for Sen. Alex Padilla, so she will be staying in Capitol Hill for her new job. 

Prior to that, she had multiple communications jobs with Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan and Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, as well as being deputy communications director for New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker’s presidential campaign. Valdivia also helped on Hillary Clinton’s presidential run.

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