Democrats Clinton, Sanders promise to include Latinos in cabinet

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NEW YORK, April 4 (Reuters) - Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders vowed to nominate Latinos into key cabinet posts in their administrations if elected, according to their answers to a questionnaire organized by the nation's largest Latino coalition.

The 20-question survey was submitted by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda to all U.S. presidential candidates on Feb. 25, but received responses only from the two Democratic contenders and none from the Republicans, according to the results reviewed by Reuters.

Latinos and African-Americans have emerged as key voting blocs in the Democratic race for the White House nomination so far, and are likely to play a large role in the outcomes of big contests looming in New York and California.

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Democrats Clinton, Sanders promise to include Latinos in cabinet
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 9: Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are seen before the Univision News and Washington Post Democratic Presidential Primary Debate on the Miami Dade College Kendall Campus on March 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 09: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during her debate against Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) at the Univision News and Washington Post Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Miami Dade College's Kendall Campus on March 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Voters in Florida will go to the polls March 15 for the state's primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
KENDALL, FL - MARCH 09: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks during his debate against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the Univision News and Washington Post Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Miami Dade CollegeÃs Kendall Campus on March 9, 2016 in Kendall, Florida. Voters in Florida will go to the polls March 15 for the state's primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, attempts to listen to a question from the audience as Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, walks off the stage during a break at the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks at the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
A Univision staffer shows what topics are trending from women on Facebook during a break at the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, speaks at the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks at the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 9: General view at the Univision News and Washington Post Democratic Presidential Primary Debate on the Miami Dade College Kendall Campus on March 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
Members of the audience applaud during the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, speaks at the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks, as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, listens, during the the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks at the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during the democratic presidential debate with Hillary Clinton in Miami on March 9, 2016. / AFP / Gaston De Cardenas (Photo credit should read GASTON DE CARDENAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (R) and Bernie Sanders stand during a National Anthem before the democratic presidential debate in Miami on March 9, 2016. / AFP / Gaston De Cardenas (Photo credit should read GASTON DE CARDENAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, shakes hands before the start of the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 09: Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shake hands before the Univision News and Washington Post Democratic Presidential Primary Debate on the Miami Dade Colleges Kendall Campus on March 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Voters in Florida will go to the polls March 15th for the state's primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 09: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton debate during the Univision News and Washington Post Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Miami Dade College's Kendall Campus on March 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Voters in Florida will go to the polls March 15th for the state's primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 09: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton debate during the Univision News and Washington Post Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Miami Dade College's Kendall Campus on March 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Voters in Florida will go to the polls March 15th for the state's primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, speaks at the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton speaks at the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton interrupt each other during the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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"From special assistants to cabinet members, Latinos will play a key role in helping to shape my policy priorities and be effectively represented in our agencies," former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic front-runner Clinton wrote.

U.S. Senator from Vermont Sanders promised to make his administration "reflect the diverse make-up of the country... I can think of no place more vital for such diversity than in the cabinet and the Senior Executive Service of the President of the United States of America."

President Barack Obama has nominated a number of Latinos to cabinet position during his time in office, two of whom are currently serving: Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro.

Both Clinton and Sanders have already promised comprehensive immigration reform, appealing to Hispanic voters ahead of presidential nominating contests in minority-heavy states. Leading Republican hopefuls Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, meanwhile, have promised to tighten up the borders and deport undocumented immigrants.

The responses come as the Democratic contest for the party's presidential nomination is poised to roll into a slate of diverse states - including New York later this month and minority-heavy California in June.

The NHLA will use the questionnaires to guide voter engagement ahead of the November election, and to hold the winner to promises made during the campaign, said Hector Sanchez, the chairman of the NHLA.

"This is not just a piece of paper that we're going to put out there," Sanchez said. "If they want the Latino vote, they must engage with us."

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