Photo of Brenda Gonzalez

Brenda Gonzalez

USCIS Acting Chief of Public Affairs, Department of Homeland Security; Center for Public Relations Board Member

Brenda Gonzalez recently joined the Biden-Harris Administration as USCIS Acting Chief of Public Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. Previously, Gonzalez was the State Press Secretary and Director of Public Engagement for U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris.

Gonzalez was the first Latina to serve as the State Press Secretary to Senator Harris. As State Press Secretary and Director of Public Engagement, Gonzalez served as Senator Harris’ spokesperson in California and directed all internal and external communications for the Senator’s five district offices and twenty-five state staff members. She helped manage the Senator’s social communications and liaises with talent, influencers, artists, and business leaders to accelerate the Senator’s key initiatives and bills that impact their audience. Gonzalez also worked with traditional and digital media outlets to advance Senator Harris’ affirmative agenda at home and in Washington, D.C. Additionally, she was the Senator’s spokesperson for ethnic media – directing communications and media strategy for outlets and print publications including La Opinión, Los Angeles Sentinel, Univision, Korea Times, and Telemundo.              

A seasoned public relations professional, Gonzalez has worked at many levels of government – city, state, and federal. Before joining the United States Senate, Gonzalez served as Attorney General Kamala D. Harris’ Press Secretary at the California Department of Justice where she managed communications for a number of key initiatives and state justice programs including Back on Track LA, Open Justice, and the Bureau of Children’s Justice. From 2012 to 2014, she was Communications Director for Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge and, in 2015, joined Kamala Harris’ campaign for U.S. Senate.

After graduating from Whittier College with a degree in political science, Gonzalez moved to Washington, D.C. where she began her career in political communications as a press aide for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). While at the USDA, she helped coordinate national interviews, travel, and program announcements for Secretary Tom Vilsack and the department’s senior leadership.

A proud Trojan and Southern California native, Gonzalez earned her master’s in strategic public relations from USC Annenberg in 2017 and currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the USC Center for Public Relations at USC Annenberg.