Saturday, November 16, 2019

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Elects New Leadership

Yesterday, the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) elected Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez (D-TX) to lead the group of Latino Democrats in the new Congress.  Rounding out the leadership board are Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), who becomes the Caucus’ 1st Vice Chair, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) as 2nd Vice Chair, and Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), who will serve as the group’s Whip.

“I’m honored to have the support of my colleagues to lead the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the 112th Congress,” said Gonzalez, who is from San Antonio. “Hispanics continue to be the fastest growing minority group in the U.S and the CHC is faced with unique challenges and opportunities to work together to find a common ground for real solutions.  As we rebuild our economy, create the much needed jobs, and build a world-class education system for our children, the CHC will continue to represent the Latino communities in order to create a strong and inclusive nation that values hard work and dedication to family.  Every American strives for freedom and a chance to build a better life, and we are dedicated to ensuring the same opportunities are available to our Latino communities.”

As with all Democrats in this mid-term election, Latinos in Congress suffered losses in the Republican sweep.  Reps. Ciro Rodriguez (TX) and John Salazar (CO) lost their re-election bids. Reps. Raul Grijalva (AZ) and Jim Costa (CA) squeezed out victories in tough reelection battles that were not called until after election day, and senior member of the CHC, Rep. Solomon Ortiz of Texas, is demanding a recount in his loss where fewer than 1,000 votes separates him from his Republican challenger.

On the Republican front, a record number four Hispanics were elected to Congress. In addition, Marco Rubio of Florida will join Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who had been the only Latino in the Senate since President Obama elevated Ken Salazar to be Secretary of the Interior last year.

Gonzalez, a former judge and the son of the late Henry B. Gonzalez, one of the first Mexican Americans to serve in Congress, will succeed Rep. Nydia Velasquez of New York when his chairmanship begins in January.