For Immediate Release
CHICAGO, IL – The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) announced today the results of its leadership elections, which were held during the 15th National Summit of Hispanic State Legislators that took place this week in Chicago, IL. During the summit, NHCSL also signed an historic agreement with Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) to hold a yearly leadership academy to provide skills training to NHCSL Latina members, and eventually help recruit aspiring Latina candidates for elected office.
The newly sworn-in leadership of NHCSL consists of: President Sen. Carmelo Ríos (PR); 1st Vice-President Rep. Ángela Romero (UT); Vice President for Public Policy Rep. Carlos Tobón (RI), Vice President for Membership Rep. Roberto Alonzo (TX), Treasurer Rep. Mark Archuleta Wheatley (UT), and Secretary Rep. Juan Candelaria (CT).
“I am excited to continue working with my fellow Latino legislators to ensure that the Hispanic agenda is front and center for policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels. Together with our members, we will grow this organization into one of the most effective and powerful legislative voices and I commit my time and energy to achieving this,” Sen. Ríos said. “Hispanic issues continue to be at the forefront of the national debate; however, this is not a reason to celebrate but rather should be a rallying cry for all of us to continue working tirelessly to transform our potential into real political change. This is what I plan to do alongside, each and every one of our members. I also want to thank immediate past president Rep. Ángel Cruz for his incredible work as president in elevating this group and for fighting for our community each day. I look forward to working alongside him and our new leadership to take NHCSL to the next level.”The agreement signed between Rutgers and NHCSL is meant to boost the amount of Latina state legislators nationwide, ensure that incumbent Latina legislators have the tools they need to reach leadership positions within their Legislatures as well as aspire to higher office. Latinas are 1.3 percent of state legislators of all racial and ethnic backgrounds and are just 1.6 percent of the members of Congress.This makes the Latinas Lead Initiative an urgent imperative for this vastly underrepresented segment of American society.
“I am thrilled that we are partnering with Rutgers, one of the Nation’s leading academic institutions, on this historic mission to make sure that our government reflects the diversity of the people it represents. As women candidates are dramatically increasing in numbers, we need to make sure that Latinas are leading the way,” Senator Patricia Torres Ray (MN), Chair of NHCSL’s Latinas Lead Initiative, said.
Prior to the announcement, the Latinas Lead Initiative held a forum on the state of minority women in elected office at the federal, state and local level. Panelists included Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti; Senator Torres Ray; the Director of Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), Prof. Deborah Walsh; the Majority Leader of the Nevada State Assembly, Assemblywoman Teresa Benítez-Thompson; Delegate Elizabeth Guzmán (VA); and the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Consumer Engagement at Nielsen, Stacie M. de Armas.
During the summit, Latino state legislators from across the country convened in the Windy City this week to focus on key priorities for Latino families. The summit gathered senior elected officials, state legislators, diplomats, corporate executives, community advocates, and policymakers to address some of the issues impacting Latino voters. Attendees participated in panels to discuss a wide variety of issues, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations, the Census, infrastructure, political underrepresentation of Latinas, and other pressing issues.
NHCSL is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country. NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3 with the mission to be the most effective voice for the more than 410 Hispanic legislators. For more information visit www.nhcsl.org.