Latinos In Congress Gain Major Role In 116th Congress

There are 57 million Latinos, from Puerto Rican heritage, as well as Cuban, Mexican, and one from Ecuador in the United States as 2018 comes to an end.

A record of 43 Latinos will be sitting in the 116th Congress, with some in leadership roles, as Latinos now constitute 18 percent of the total population, the nation’s largest minority group.

New Mexico Representative Ben Ray Lujan has been chosen by the Democratic Caucus to be Assistant Democratic Leader, the fourth ranking position in the House Leadership, and could be on the road to being a future Whip, Majority Leader, or even Speaker of the House in the future.

Meanwhile, Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto will be in charge of the party’s campaign arm for Senate races in 2020, the first Latina to have a position of authority in the Democratic Party.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus will be headed by Texas Representative Joaquin Castro, and his brother, Julian, is about to announce his candidacy for President, the first serious Latino to compete for the White House.

The caucus will pursue comprehensive immigration reform; reconstruction in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria; raising the minimum wage; lowering the cost of health care; and dealing with climate change.

Ten new Latinos are coming to Congress, the largest increase ever, with five Democrats who were first time candidates defeating Republican incumbents in November, including one Latina.

Four other Latinas will be in the new Congress, including two from Texas, and one from the Bronx, New York, and one born in Ecuador.

35 of the 43 Latinos in the next Congress are Democrats, to 8 Republicans, with only one new Republican Latino, elected in Ohio, the first Latino ever elected from Ohio.

Seven other first time Republican Latinos Congressional candidates lost, in the era of the anti Latino and anti immigrant rhetoric common to Donald Trump and his administration.

And two Republican Latinos lost their seats in California and Florida, not a good sign for Latino impact on the Republican Party in the future.