New Organization Aims to Boost Latinas to Elective Office

Feb 6, 2014

LatinasRepresent, a new grassroots political movement that will seek to build the numbers of Latinas holding elective office, will hold its first Colorado organizational meeting today to set a course and tone for what is being billed as an extended, nationwide campaign.

A joint undertaking by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda and the organization Political Parity, LatinasRepresents stresses the fundamental disparity in the numbers of those holding elective office.

One of the fastest-growing populations in the United States with a current number of about 25 million Hispanic women, "Latinas are dramatically underrepresented at every level of government: they represent just 1.6 percent of Congress and 1.1 percent of state legislators. Only 78 Latinas serve in state legislatures, nine in Congress, and one as governor," the organization states.

"For a nation that prides itself on inclusion, that’s frankly unacceptable," said the statement, signed by Swanee Hunt, chair of Political Parity and former U.S. ambassador to Austria, and Hector Sanchez, chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda. "Our very democracy is in question when our legislative bodies look nothing like the diverse constituencies of our country."

In Colorado, where Hispanics comprise more than 20 percent of the state population,  four Latinas are in the 65 member House, while two serve in the 35 member Senate.

The meeting, 9 a.m. today at History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, Denver, will be led by Hunt and Sanchez. They are expected to be joined by Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and State Rep. Crisanta Duran, among others.

The I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS project Losing Ground documented growing inequality between the state's Latino and black residents and their white counterparts in a range of important measures of social progress.