Lt. Gov. Garcia could be tapped for U.S. cabinet job

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He once led Pikes Peak Community College. Now, Colorado Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia is a leading candidate to become U.S. secretary of labor, according to a Reuters article today.

The news service cites sources familiar with the situation.

Garcia, a Hispanic former president of Colorado State University-Pueblo, would bring racial diversity and a Western flair to Obama’s team, Reuters reports.

Garcia, if nominated and confirmed, would succeed Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, a Latina who earlier this month announced plans to resign.

Garcia, through a spokesman, declined to comment. The White House also declined to comment.

Gov. John Hickenlooper picked Garcia to be his running mate in 2010. Once in office, he made Garcia executive director of Colorado’s Department of Higher Education in addition to his lieutenant governor role.

“Joe Garcia is one of the most extraordinary individuals I’ve worked with. Everything he does he excels at,” Hickenlooper said in a statement emailed to Reuters by a spokesman.

“We would hate to lose him, but our loss without question would be the nation’s gain,” he said.

Garcia is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Harvard Law School. Garcia was an attorney before serving as president of PPCC, the second largest community college in Colorado, where he oversaw three campuses that served more than 16,000 students annually.