Yvanna Cancela

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Yvanna Cancela
White House Senior Advisor to Governors and Statewide Elected Officials
Assumed office
April 28, 2023
PresidentJoe Biden
Preceded byKate Marshall
Chief of Staff to the Governor of Nevada
In office
September 1, 2021 – January 2, 2023
GovernorSteve Sisolak
Preceded byMichelle White
Succeeded byBen Kieckhefer
Deputy Director of the U.S. Health and Human Services office of Intergovernmental Affairs
In office
January 20, 2021 – August 9, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
Member of the Nevada Senate
from the 10th district
In office
February 6, 2017 – January 12, 2021
Preceded byRubén Kihuen
Succeeded byFabian Doñate
Personal details
Born1987 (age 36–37)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationNorthwestern University (BA)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (JD)

Yvanna Cancela (born 1987) is an American politician who served as a member of the Nevada Senate for the 10th district from 2017 to 2021. She joined the Biden administration on January 20, 2021.

Early life and education[edit]

Cancela was born to Cuban immigrants in Phoenix, Arizona, and raised in Miami, Florida. She graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications in 2010.[1] While she served in the Nevada Senate, she earned her Juris Doctor from the William S. Boyd School of Law.[2][3]


Nevada politics[edit]

During the summer of 2009, she interned in Harry Reid's United States Senate office. She then moved to Nevada to work on Reid's 2010 reelection campaign.[4]

Cancela served as the political director for the Culinary Workers Union and as executive director of the Immigrant Workers Citizenship Project. In 2017, Cancela was chosen to succeed Ruben Kihuen, who was elected to the United States House of Representatives, in the Nevada Senate. She took office on February 6, 2017.[5] She became the first Latina to serve in the Nevada Senate.[6]

Cancela was selected as one of seventeen speakers to jointly deliver the keynote address at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.[7] She was also chosen to serve as one of the convention's parliamentarians.[8]

Biden administration[edit]

On January 12, 2021, Cancela announced her resignation in order to join the incoming administration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the United States Department of Health and Human Services as the deputy director of intergovernmental affairs.[9][10] Since her position does not require a confirmation vote from the United States Senate, she was sworn in on January 20, 2021, and immediately assumed her post.

Sisolak administration[edit]

On August 9, 2021, it was announced that Cancela would leave her position in the Department of Health and Human Services to serve as chief of staff for Governor Steve Sisolak. She assumed office on September 6, 2021.[11]


  1. ^ Snyder, Riley (January 17, 2017). "Freshman Orientation: State Senator Yvanna Cancela". The Nevada Independent. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  2. ^ "Student Spotlight: Yvanna Cancela | UNLV - William S. Boyd School of Law". law.unlv.edu. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  3. ^ "From Dean Dan - December 11, 2020 | UNLV - William S. Boyd School of Law". law.unlv.edu. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  4. ^ "3 apply for Ruben Kihuen's vacant Senate District 10 seat". December 1, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  5. ^ "Yvanna Cancela wants to fight for working families as member of Nevada Senate". Las Vegas Review-Journal. February 4, 2017. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  6. ^ Davidson, Michael Scott (January 31, 2017). "Yvanna Cancela chosen to fill Ruben Kihuen's Senate District 10 seat". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  7. ^ "Democrats Unveil A New Kind of Convention Keynote". 2020 Democratic National Convention. August 16, 2020. Archived from the original on August 17, 2020. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  8. ^ "Democratic National Convention Announces 2020 Convention Officers, Schedule of Events". 2020 Democratic National Convention. July 30, 2020. Archived from the original on August 4, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  9. ^ "Cancela quits Nevada Senate to join Biden administration". Las Vegas Review-Journal. January 11, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  10. ^ Cancryn, Adam (February 2, 2021). "Black, Latino communities left behind amid vaccine scramble". POLITICO. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  11. ^ "Sisolak picks former Sen. Yvanna Cancela as chief of staff". AP NEWS. August 9, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2021.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Keynote Speaker of the Democratic National Convention
Served alongside: Stacey Abrams, Raumesh Akbari, Colin Allred, Brendan Boyle, Kathleen Clyde, Nikki Fried, Robert Garcia, Marlon Kimpson, Conor Lamb, Mari Manoogian, Victoria Neave, Jonathan Nez, Sam Park, Denny Ruprecht, Randall Woodfin
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