Politics & Government

Obama names Cuban exile group's spokesman to energy post

Longtime political mover and shaker Joe Garcia — who has been the voice a powerful Cuban exile group, chairman of the agency that regulates the state's utilities and an unsuccessful congressional candidate — has been nominated for a post in the Obama administration.

Garcia, 45, a Democrat from Miami Beach, was named on Tuesday director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact for the Department of Energy. Garcia now needs Senate confirmation.

"I am confident that these skilled and dedicated individuals will diligently work to serve the American people," the president said in prepared statement.

Garcia's suitability for the post in the energy department comes from his years as a member of the Florida Public Service Commission, the regulatory authority over utilities which also sets electric and telephone rates for all residents.

Garcia joined the commission in 1994 and served as both member and chairman for six years.

Garcia, born in Miami-Dade of Cuban exiles, began his political career in 1988 as a protegee of Cuban American National Foundation president Jorge Mas Canosa, who picked Garcia to head the Exodus Project, a program that brought Cuban exiles stranded in third countries to the U.S. Garcia eventually became the foundation's official spokesman.

Read more at MiamiHerald.com