Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

"Tío Bernie" & A Conversation with Bernie 2020 Senior Advisor Chuck Rocha

Monday, October 5, 2020

12:00pm – 1:30pm

Watch on Watson's YouTube Channel.

The book "Tío Bernie: The Inside Story of How Bernie Sanders Brought Latinos Into the Political Revolution" describes Chuck's personal journey through life and politics, including his work with Sen. Sanders and a state by state analysis into the most innovative Latino outreach program ever run in a presidential campaign. In the book, Chuck has a frank discussion on equity and inclusion, including how he built the campaign to include the most diverse staff possible. There is also intrigue around Chuck's decision to turn down the campaign manager job and what really happened the day Sen. Sanders had his heart procedure. This book and important conversation is about more than Sen. Sanders; it is about how Latinos can make their way to the senior levels of a campaign and bring other people of color along with them.

Chuck Rocha began his political career in the woods of East Texas at United Rubber Workers Local 746. By 22, Chuck had become the youngest officer of the 1,200 person local. At 29, he was hired to be the youngest, first person of color and last rank-and-file National Political director of the United Steelworkers of America. He is credited for building out one of the top national labor political departments in the country. In 2010, Chuck left the USW to create Solidarity Strategies, a full-service nonprofit and political consulting firm. Solidarity was built on the idea of diversity, inclusion and mentorship opportunities for the next generation of minority professionals. In 10 years, Solidarity has employed over 100 young people of color and has become one of the most successful minority-owned political consulting firms in the nation. 

Chuck has worked on several presidential, Congressional and gubernatorial races through the years, including both of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns. He is one of only a handful of people of color to help run a presidential campaign and he accomplished all of this despite never attending college, having a criminal record and being a single father at 20 years old. Chuck is a preeminent Latino vote expert, New York Times op-ed contributor and the author of the upcoming book, “Tío Bernie,” which provides an inside look at the strategy behind the historic Latino outreach operation he pioneered on the Bernie 2020 campaign. He is also the founder of Nuestro PAC, a partisan Super PAC that aims to educate, mobilize and turn out Latinos in key states for the 2020 general election and beyond.

Chuck often says his biggest accomplishments are his twin grandsons, Wyatt and Rowan.