Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity: Who is John Trasviña?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A long time Latino civil rights attorney, John Trasviña was confirmed as the assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity on May 1, 2009. He comes to the Department of Housing and Urban Development after serving as president of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF) since November 2006.

A native of San Francisco, Trasviña, 50, graduated from Harvard University and Stanford Law School.
After completing law school, he began his career in 1983 as a deputy city attorney in San Francisco. MALDEF, the nation’s leading Latino civil rights organization, came calling in 1985, and Trasviña relocated to Washington, DC, to become a legislative counsel for two years. In 1987, he went to work for Sen. Paul Simon (D-IL), first as counsel and then in 1993 as general counsel and staff director for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
During the Clinton Administration Trasviña was appointed in 1997 to be special counsel for immigration-related unfair employment practices at the Department of Justice. He later became Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs.
After leaving the Justice Department in 2001, Trasviña headed back to the West Coast and became director of the Discrimination Research Center in Berkeley, and taught at Stanford Law School.
Five years later, MALDEF came calling again, and Trasviña took over as the organization’s president and general counsel in November 2006.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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