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Member Biographies

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Rep. César Chávez

Arizona State Representative César Chávez was first elected in 2016 to represent the 29th Legislative District in the Arizona House of Representatives, with his district covering the areas of Maryvale, South Glendale, and Litchfield Park. He is in his second term in the Arizona State Legislature and is serving his first full term as Vice President for Membership at NHCSL.

Rep. Angel Cruz

State Rep. Angel Cruz has been a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 2001. During his tenure, Rep. Cruz has drafted and had enacted several important pieces of legislation including Act 148 of 2014, which expanded newborn screening in Pennsylvania; helped to secure grants for numerous non-profit organizations and projects in his district; and played the leading role in the abduction investigation and return of Delamar Vera, a story which made international news and was depicted in a Lifetime Movie.

Rep. Mark Wheatley

Governors' Hispanic Advisory Council (member); Hispanic American Festival 2001-2003 (board member); Cooperation Education & Internship Association (past member); Mexican Civic Center 1994-1996 (board member); SOMOS President, U.S. West 1990-1992; National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (past member)

Rep. Juan Candelaria

Juan Candelaria has served New Haven’s 95th District since 2002. At the start of the 2017 General Assembly session, Rep. Candelaria was named to the leadership role of Deputy Speaker, the first Latino to hold the position. He is also a member of the Appropriations and Education committees.

Rep. Carlos Tobon

Carlos E. Tobon (D) was first elected in November 2014 to the House of Representatives from District 58 in Pawtucket. He serves as the first vice-chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and is a member of both the House Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. He is the co-chairman of the Legislative Black and Latino Caucus.

Rep. David Gallegos

Representative David Gallegos (NM-61) is Senior Superintendent for Ramirez and Son’s Inc, his family’s fifth generation-Asphalt and Dirt Work Company. In 2012, He was the first Hispanic elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives for District 61. He has traveled to China to increase trade with New Mexico and he works closely with Focus on the Family.

Rep. Angela Romero

Angela Romero has always had a passion to serve. Growing up in Tooele, Utah, Angela was raised by her grandparents. Their dedication to raising a hard-working, well-educated woman inspired her to pursue college, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Utah. In 2012, she won election to represent House District 26 at the Utah Legislature. In 2016, she was elected by her colleagues to serve as the House Democratic Assistant Whip. Her upbringing, paired with her education, gives Angela a unique perspective into the needs of Utah’s growing communities.