GINA Ortiz Jones, a Filipina American Iraq War veteran who ran for U.S. Congress twice, will be President Joe Biden’s nominee for undersecretary of the Air Force.
Jones, who is openly gay, is tapped to be the No. 2 in command in the military branch where she served as an intelligence officer during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era, the White House announced on Tuesday, April 27.
If confirmed, the 40-year-old veteran would become the first woman of color as the Air Force’s undersecretary.
Jones grew up in San Antonio, Texas with a single mother, Victorina Ortiz, who is originally from Pangasinan, Philippines, as previously reported by the Asian Journal.
In addition to her Air Force service, Jones was a special adviser at the Defense Intelligence Agency and was a director for investment at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, before leaving in June 2017.
She was the Democratic Party’s nominee in the tightly-contested battle for Texas’ 23rd congressional district in a bid to be the first Filipina American elected to Congress.
She ran for a second time and narrowly lost her bid again for the district that spans from San Antonio to the Texas-Mexico border.
“I will always remain dedicated to serving our country and my community in any way I can,” she wrote in a concession post last November.
Jones joins fellow Asian Americans nominated to key national security positions on Tuesday, including former Obama administration official Chris Lu as the representative to the United Nations for Management and Reform and Heidi Shyu as undersecretary for research and engineering at the Department of Defense.
A handful of Fil-Ams have joined the Biden-Harris administration, including Gloria Steele, acting administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Jason Tengco, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s White House liaison, and Camille Calimlim Touton, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.