Home / Members / Biography

Member Biographies

Rep. Alma Hernández

Representative Alma Hernández (AZ-3) is a healthcare consultant and a professor of healthcare policy and innovation. She led Arizonans United for Healthcare and is a board member at Jewish Family Children’s Services of Southern Arizona. She serves on the Health and Human Services and the Federal Relations committees of the Arizona House.

Asw. Lorena Gonzalez

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is the 2019 awardee of NHCSL’s highest honor, the John S. Martínez Legislator of the Year Award. She chairs the California Latino Legislative Caucus and is the first Latina to chair the California Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.

Senator Carmelo Rios

Senator Carmelo J. Ríos-Santiago is the Immediate Past President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. In early 2018, he was elected President of NHCSL after having served as Vice-President for Membership, Parliamentarian and Vice-President. Senator Ríos-Santiago has served in the Puerto Rico Senate since 2005 and is the current Senate Majority Leader.

Rep. Diego Espinoza

Representative José "Diego" Espinoza (AZ-19) is the West Region Chair of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. A restauranteur and entrepreneur, in 2007, Representative Espinoza opened Fuego Bar & Grill.

Asm. Víctor Pichardo

Assemblyman Víctor M. Pichardo (NY-86) started his career in politics as Staff Assistant to Senator Chuck Schumer and was eventually promoted to Community Outreach Coordinator/Latino Liaison. After a stint in education Victor became the Director of Community Affairs for State Senator Gustavo Rivera in the Bronx. He currently serves as Vice Chair of NHCSL's delegation to the Quad Caucus.

Sen. Anitere Flores

Senator Anitere Flores (FL-39) is the first Republican Hispanic woman to serve in both the Florida House and Senate since 1986. Due to her unwavering support of education, the American entrepreneurial spirit as well as the elderly, she was recognized in The Huffington Post’s “40 under 40: Latinos in American Politics.”

Del. Elizabeth Guzmán

Delegate Elizabeth Guzmán (VA-31) is the South Region Chair of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. Prior to her election on December 5, 2019, she served as a me mber of the NHCSL Executive Committee. Delegate Guzmán was elected in 2017 to become the first Hispanic female immigrant to join the 400 year old Virginia General Assembly.

Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Pérez

Senator Nilsa I. Cruz-Pérez (NJ-5), a former U.S. Army Sergeant, is the Chair of NHCSL's Veterans and Military Affairs Task Force and of the New Jersey Senate Economic Growth Committee.

Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon

Representative Teresa Alonso León (OR-22) is the Secretary of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. Prior to that position she served as a member of the NHCSL Executive Committee from the West Region and as Vice-Chair of NHCSL's Labor and Workforce Development Task Force.

Asw. Wendy Carrillo

Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (CA-51) immigrated to the United States as a young child during El Salvador’s Civil War. She was a broadcast journalist for twelve years covering human rights, global conflict and US politics. She also worked in communications for SEIU and for a member of the Los Angeles City Council.

Asw. Catalina Cruz

Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (NY-39) has the privilege of representing one of the most diverse districts in the nation. Her first legislative session was one of the most progressive in recent New York history. She is an experienced attorney and a leader for tenant protections, immigration reform and workers’ rights. She has led the charge on rent reform.

Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk

Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk (MD-21) is the East Region Chair of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. Prior to this role, she served as Chair of NHCSL's Law and Criminal Justice Task Force and as a member of the NHCSL Executive Committee. In 2018, Delegate Peña-Melnyk was awarded the NHCSL John S. Martínez Legislator of the Year Award for her work in the Maryland State Legislature and for tackling some of NHCSL's most complex resolutions in many years, including cannabis and gun policy, by building consensus support for innovative policies.

Sen. Luz Escamilla

Senator Luz Escamilla (UT-1) was the first Latina elected to the Utah State Senate and the first immigrant elected to the Utah State Legislature in 2008. She serves as Utah's Senate Minority Whip and has served as Chair of NHCSL's Banking, Affordable Housing and Credit Task Force since 2018.

Sen. Daniel A. Ivey-Soto

Senator Daniel A. Ivey-Soto (NM-15) is the President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. Prior to his election on December 5, 2019 he served in the NHCSL leadership as West Region Chair and member of the Executive Committee. In his state legislature, Sen. Ivey-Soto serves as Senate Parliamentarian, Chair of the Senate Rules Committee and Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Asw. Yvonne López

Assemblywoman Yvonne López (NJ-19) is a New Jersey Complete Count Commissioner and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee of the New Jersey Assembly. She served as the Executive Director /CEO of the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development, Inc. (PRAHD) for over five years.

Rep. Marisabel Cabrera

Representative Marisabel Cabrera (WI-9) is an entrepreneur, immigration attorney, and former chair of the Latino Caucus of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. An attorney by trade, she’s a member of Voces de la Frontera and currently serves as the chair of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.

Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero

Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero (NM-13) is the Treasurer of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. Rep. Roybal Caballero has served in the New Mexico State Legislature since 2013. Rep. Roybal Caballero previously served as National Treasurer of LULAC (2015-2018), the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the U.S., founded in 1929.

Rep. Pedro Marin

State Representative Pedro "Pete" Marin is the Dean of Gwinnett, Georgia legislators having served in public office for almost two decades. He served in NHCSL's Executive Committee from 2006 to 2019, including serving as NHCSL's Vice President for Public Policy from 2014 to early 2018.

Sen. Nellie Pou

Senator Nellie Pou (NJ-35) is the President-Elect of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. Her two-year term as President is slated to begin at the end of 2021. Prior to her election as President-Elect on December 5, 2019, she served as NHCSL's East Region Chair. Sen. Pou has served in the New Jersey State Legislature since 1997 and Sen. Pou has chaired the New Jersey Legislative Latino Caucus since 2006.

Asw. Maritza Dávila

Assemblywoman Maritza Dávila (NY-53) has a strong community organizing background on issues like education, healthcare, public safety, domestic violence, affordable housing, open space, and economic development. She has helped found a local credit union; organized dozens of merchant, tenant, and block associations; secured lifeline benefits for struggling residents; provided job training and quality affordable housing for hundreds of families; educated on lead paint; and supported numerous organizations and initiatives to empower and protect women.