We the Patients

Who is Xavier Becerra?

It’s official—President Biden has announced Xavier Becerra as his choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services. But who is Xavier Becerra, and what has he done in the past? We’ve got answers!

The Basics

Xavier Becerra was born in Sacramento in 1958. Since then, he’s worked his way up: he was a member of the California State Assembly, a member of the House from California, and is now California’s Attorney General. If he’s confirmed by the Senate, he’ll be the first Latinx person to lead HHS. In fact, he was in the mix for a high-profile job even before Biden selected him for HHS—there were rumors he would be appointed to fill Kamala Harris’s Senate seat. And during his 24 years as a member of the House, he served as a member of the Health Committee, consistently fighting laws that would cut funding to Medicare or Medicaid.

Why was he picked?

We’re still learning more, but we know a few main reasons. First, he has a lot of experience leading complicated, important agencies. Second, he’s been outspoken on healthcare issues since the early 1990s. Third, he lead the defense of the ACA at the Supreme Court. Fourth, he has a strong track record of speaking out on environmental issues that impact our health. Fifth, he understands how legislation works, which is especially important if the new administration works to put a public option into place.