Congress Sees Historic Rise In Latinos

Congressman Joaquin Castro is among the freshmen in Congress now representing Texas.
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. Jan. 4, 2013: History was made in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday, with the swearing in of ten more Latino elected representatives.

The new members now bring to 28, the number of Latinos in the 113th Congress, up from nine. There are also now three Latinos in the U.S. Senate.
Ted Cruz, a Cuban-American Republican candidate, became the first Latino to represent Texas in the U.S. He replaces Sen. Kay Baily Hutchison in the Upper House.
Cruz joins New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican. The last time there were three Latino U.S. Senators was in 2008.

Among those in the Lower House is Joaquin Castro of Texas’ 20th District, the twin brother of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who delivered the keynote speech of the Democratic National Convention; Michelle Lujan Grisham, the first Latina to represent New Mexico in the House of Representatives, and attorney Joe Garcia from Miami, who defeated Republican incumbent David Rivera.

Others are Rep. Pete Gallego, a Democrat who defeated freshman Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R) 50-45 percent in a closely-watched race in Texas; Filemon Vela, Jr., an attorney and Democrat who will represent a newly-formed district in South Texas between Brownsville and Corpus Christi; Tony Cardenas, the Los Angeles City Councilmember who won a seat in the San Fernando Valley; Gloria Negrete McLeod, the Democratic newcomer who unseated Rep. Joe Baca in Southern California’s San Bernardino Valley; Juan Vargas:, who easily defeated his Republican opponent and will represent a district that begins in the San Diego area and runs across the U.S.-Mexico border and Raúl Ruiz who defeated the 14-year incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack in California’s Coachella Valley.

The growth of Latinos in the U.S. House of Representatives comes at the time when the Latino voting bloc in the country continues to grow and as President Obama looks to congress to deliver comprehensive immigration reform, an issue that is of importance to this bloc.

Overall, eighty-two freshmen joined the House, 47 of whom are Democrats and 35 are Republicans. Women now total 81 in the 435-member body with 62 being Democrats and 19 Republicans.
Democrats will retain the Senate with a 55-45 lead, while Republicans will keep the House at 235-199.