Ruben Navarrette Jr., a columnist and editorial board member of The San Diego Union-Tribune, is a fresh and increasingly important voice in the national political debate. His twice-weekly column offers new thinking on many of the major issues of the day, especially on thorny questions involving ethnicity and national origin. His column is syndicated worldwide by The Washington Post Writers Group.
After graduating from Harvard in 1990, Navarrette returned to his native Fresno, Calif., where he began a free-lance writing career that produced more than 200 articles in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, The Fresno Bee, the Chicago Tribune and The Arizona Republic.
In 1997 he joined the staff of The Arizona Republic, first as a reporter and then as a twice-weekly columnist, before returning to Harvard in the fall of 1999 to earn a master's in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government. He joined the editorial board of The Dallas Morning News in July 2000, and in 2005, moved to the Union-Tribune. His column has been in syndication since 2001.
Navarrette draws on both his knowledge of policy and politics and his life experiences to provide meaningful and hard-hitting commentary. He is a gifted and widely sought speaker on Latino affairs, has worked as a substitute teacher in classes from kindergarten to high school, and has hosted radio talk shows. Navarrette has also served as guest host of public television's "Life & Times" and has discussed current affairs on CNN, CNBC, Fox News Channel, National Public Radio and The PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer. He also does regular commentary for NPR's "Morning Edition."
His book, "A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano," drew favorable reviews after it was published in 1993. In 2000, he contributed an installment to "Chicken Soup for the Writers Soul," of the best-selling "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series.
His columns won second place in the 2004 National Headliner Awards presented by the Press Club of Atlantic City. In 2002 and 2003, the Dallas Observer named him "Best Columnist at a Daily Newspaper."
Navarrette was born May 11, 1967, in the farm country of the San Joaquin Valley. He attended public schools in Sanger, Calif., a town of deep roots where all four of his grandparents lived. His father is a 34-year law enforcement officer in Fresno. Ruben Sr. recently became an investigator for the California Labor Commissioner's Office where he enforces fair labor practices in some of the very same grape fields and peach orchards where he and his brothers, along with his parents, worked in the 1930s and 1940s.
Navarrette lives in the San Diego area with his wife and daughter.