Democrat Henry Cisneros has a history of speaking with poise and grandeur. A former director of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, Cisneros was once considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, before taking a coveted post in the Clinton administration. And during his 2014 gubernatorial campaign, Cisneros hosted a speech at the annual convention of the National Organization for Women, after supporters repeatedly pushed for a woman in the race’s top slot.
But as his agenda takes shape, it’s worth wondering what Cisneros can bring to the conversation. His campaign was rumored to have failed when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reportedly told a fundraiser he wouldn’t support Cisneros for the open gubernatorial seat, a rumor the ex-mayor promptly denied.
Cisneros does have an impressive résumé that includes a stint as ambassador to Spain under Bill Clinton, where he oversaw a process that redistributed millions of acres of private property to the needy and built a prison to house over 1,000 immigrant children illegally caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. But considering the path to the governor’s office would be marked by allegations of sexual assault, foreign finance, and corruption, Cisneros’ star is fading. In February of 2015, for example, Cisneros reached a $3.25 million settlement with one of the claims he faced. A former employee accused Cisneros of violating the company’s sexual harassment policy. She alleged that he sent her sexually explicit text messages, but the evidence was circumstantial. (Cisneros has also always denied the accusations.)
That’s not to say that Cisneros is out of the picture entirely. He’s still coy on what may or may not emerge from his exploratory committee, but he is sure to take a leave of absence as soon as the official announcement occurs. All the more reason to give the office serious consideration.
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