Adriana Kugler confirmed as first Latina on Federal Reserve Board

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Colombian American economist Adriana Kugler as a Federal Reserve governor, making her the first Latina to join the Fed Board in its 109-year history.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., a senior member of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said in a speech advocating for her confirmation that fellow senators had the chance to alter the course of American history.

"To hear her tell her story is to listen to the American dream come to life," Menendez said of the Kugler, whose parents immigrated from Colombia.

Kugler, 53, an expert on labor and international economics, is the World Bank's group executive director for the U.S. She took a leave from Georgetown University, where she has been a professor of public policy and economics since 2010 and has also been vice provost.

Kugler was the Labor Department’s chief economist from September 2011 to January 2013 during the Obama administration.

Menendez said Kugler has demonstrated that she would uphold the Fed's long legacy of independent decision-making, the type of decisions that affect every community in the country. He said it makes him especially proud that Kugler "will finally bring the lived experience of being Latino in the United States to the Federal Reserve."

For more from NBC Latino, sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Kugler has researched worker training in the U.S. and Colombia, and she recently focused on the effects in the U.S. of extended unemployment benefits in the past few years. Her study found that the additional aid during the coronavirus pandemic helped people take more time to find jobs that fit their skills and qualifications and lifted their wages.

Menendez said the absence of a Latino in the centurylong history of the Fed's Board of Governors is an "affront" to the 62 million Hispanics in the country and out of step with the fact that the Latino economic input is nearly $3 trillion. It "violates the idea that the hopes and dreams of Latinos are essential to America," he said.

"Never again should a Latino or Latina wonder if they can rise from humble beginnings to hold seats of power," Menendez said.

Kugler received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

A Latina confirmation at the FCC

Also Thursday, the Senate confirmed Anna Gomez to serve on the Federal Communications Commission. After a 55-43 vote, Gomez will be the first Latina on the commission in more than 20 years.

“Ms. Gomez is an exceptional nominee with considerable telecom experience and broad support from groups on both sides of the aisle," Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor. "Another glass ceiling broken. And these are so important to getting a full, diverse view on important governing agencies like the Fed, like the FCC."

Gomez is a telecommunications attorney with extensive experience in domestic and international communications law and policy, according to a White House biography. She has held several positions at the FCC, as well.


Related Posts