DA Hispanic Caucus Leadership:
Ana Blackstad, Chair of the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus, today stated her thoughts on the General Election:
“La Ola Azul (“The Blue Wave”) made landfall on Tuesday night in a big way! Although Democrats didn’t win every race, the number of Latinx people in office across our nation as a result of this election should make us all proud. Some of the highlights from Tuesday for me:
- “Donde votar,” Spanish for “Where to vote,” was Google's top search on election morning
- According to early exit polls, the overall number of voters in yesterday’s election was 12 percent Hispanic. The previous high in midterm elections was 8 percent for Hispanics, in 2006, 2012 and 2014 alike.
- The number of Hispanic eligible voters totaled 29.1 million for this election, the highest on record
- Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia will be the first Texas Latinas in Congress
- Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico will be the first Latina Democratic Governor in US History
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will represent New York as one of the two youngest women ever elected to Congress
I want to thank the members of the Hispanic Caucus of Democrats Abroad for all their efforts in getting out the vote this year. Together, we can achieve great things. ¡Adelante!”
The caucus Vice Chair, Michael Ramos, also offered his post-election night reflections:
“There is so much for our members to be proud of after witnessing historic gains in places previously thought to be districts where Democrats had no business being in. Despite subtle attempts of voter suppression, Latinos voted early in large numbers and on Election Day. For too long, too few Latinos have had access at the decision-making table of elected officials. That’s now changed.
I’m encouraged about having representation at all levels of government more reflective of the American people. In looking at Congress, our party successfully flipped more than enough seats to take back control of the House of Representatives which means that at least one chamber will finally do its constitutional duty of serious oversight on the scandal-plagued Executive Branch. It also wasn’t surprising that sensational Latinx representative-elects like Chuy García from Illinois, Veronica Escobar from Texas, Anthony Delgado and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell from Florida all did amazingly well. Moreover, Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will be returning in January as well, ensuring that the voices of America’s Hispanic minorities will keep fighting on the issues impacting their families and communities.
On the state and local levels, there were also tremendous victories for Latinx candidates. For example, we have Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico – a fantastic Latina governor-elect with a proven track record of representing her constituents well. We have Catalina Cruz, a young Latina and former “DREAMer” who won big in a seat for New York’s General Assembly. The list goes on and on. From governors’ mansions to school boards, Democrats and Latinos fared pretty well.
It’s no secret that we would have loved to have seen a Senator-Elect O’Rourke in Texas, or a Congresswoman Matta in California, but unfortunately not every race swung the way we had hoped. I am especially disappointed in the successful re-election of some individuals such as a widely-known racist congressman in Iowa, a body-slamming congressman from Montana, and a California congressman currently under indictment, among others. Nevertheless, I expect most of us to take a few days to reflect on the election and be thankful for our gains, and then roll up our sleeves and restart our momentum in preparing to support quality candidates to oust more Republicans and the current occupant in the White House.
Overall, I hope our caucus members are also pleased with the results of this election given the hard work our activist brothers and sisters have put in to ensure that as many Americans as possible had voted. Whether it’s encouraging American expats to vote, doing voter registration for our fellow citizens abroad who speak only Spanish, or working with our Democratic colleagues back in the home district, I look forward to continue organizing and working to get out the vote.”
By: Michael Ramos, DA-Australia
No recognition of notable Latinos and Latinas during Hispanic Heritage Month should go unnoticed without mentioning the incredible congresswoman who represents New York’s 7thCongressional District, Nydia M. Velázquez. The 7thDistrict has large Hispanic, Polish and Jewish populations and encompasses the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the northwest side of Brooklyn, and a sliver of Queens, making it among the most diverse constituencies in the nation.
Born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Velázquez earned her way through college in both Puerto Rico and New York and eventually became a congressional staffer for former U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY). In 1992, she became the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress and she has impressively earned re-election twelve times since.
As a member of Congress, Velásquez’s legislative accomplishments are numerous. She has had nine bills signed into law by four different presidents, both Democratic and Republican. Over the years she has served on several committees, caucuses and task forces within the U.S. House of Representatives. Her colleagues on both sides of the aisle greatly respect her encyclopedic knowledge on financial and business issues.