Name: Melody Gonzales
Title/Occupation: Co-Founder/Director of Member Outreach
Organization: The New Latino Movement / House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra
What Makes The Person A Game Changer:
Melody Gonzales just completed serving on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign as the Latino Vote director in the battleground state of Virginia. Some of Melody’s past campaign experiences include working for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Arizona Democratic Party as a GOTV Director supporting Congressman Raul Grijalva’s 2010 re-election and working for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 — volunteering in six other states, D.C. and Puerto Rico then working full-time as a Latino Canvass Director in Greeley, Colorado.
Prior to joining the President’s 2012 campaign team, Melody Gonzales spent six years in Congress working for Congressman Xavier Becerra. She began as a legislative assistant handling a range of policy issues including telecommunications, judiciary, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. In 2009, Melody was promoted to serve as Director of Member Outreach in the Congressman’s House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair’s office, where she served as a leadership advisor on the House floor and helped manage a team providing constituency outreach, research and messaging support to Democratic Members of the House of Representatives. Her favorite issues on the Hill included helping Becerra, a regent at the Smithsonian Institution, build support for a museum that honors American Latinos and helping him advance a judiciary committee bill that he co-authored with the late Senator Edward Kennedy.
Passionate about helping strengthen diversity in the political pipeline, Melody is known for helping others engage in policy and political work. As the elected Vice President of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association in 2007 she helped pen the group’s diversity initiative to help recruit and retain new congressional staff. As part of the wave of energized young people that worked the 2008 presidential cycle, she brought together Latino Obama campaign alumni to found The New Latino Movement, a volunteer-based organization whose mission is to engage, train, empower and connect progressive Latinos through online and on-the-ground strategies. Melody has also been active in encouraging young Latino professionals to get involved in fundraising, through low dollar fundraising for charitable causes and through political efforts like the Young Latino Professionals for Obama (2008) and the Obama campaign’s Gen44 and Futuro44 programs in 2012.
After graduating from the University of California San Diego, Gonzales started her career working for her local chamber of commerce managing the city’s leadership program and serving as General Manager of the Chula Vista Convention and Visitors Bureau a writer. She also worked as a writer and assistant producer for San Diego’s NBC News affiliate before leaving to attend graduate school at Georgetown.
Over the years, Melody has been named in The Huffington Post as one of the “Top Latino Voices to Follow on Twitter” (in 2012), a young alumni of year awardee at UCSD (in 2010) and one The Hill’s “Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill” (in 2008).