January 08, 2019

Chairman Joaquin Castro Welcomes Newest Members to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

WASHINGTON—Today, Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) issued a statement welcoming the newest CHC members to the Caucus for the 116th Congress:

“The 116th Congress’ Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) now consists of 38 total members—the largest class since our founding in 1976 nearly doubling the size of women in our ranks and welcoming some of Congress’ youngest in the Freshman class. We have a challenging session ahead, and I look forward to working alongside our entire Caucus to pursue policies that help uphold our nation’s core values. From increasing access to education and healthcare to strengthening economic development and increasing diversity in the workplace, the Caucus will play a pivotal role in creating equal opportunities for all Americans,” said Chairman Castro.

Chairman Castro continued: “The Caucus will be integral in the fight against this Administration’s brutal immigration policies by working to find a pathway to citizenship for our nation’s Dreamers and TPS-recipients and make passing comprehensive immigration reform a top priority in the next Congress. We must also continue to hold this Administration accountable for their failed handling of Hurricane Maria, their zero-tolerance immigration policy that led to family separation, deportation of veterans, and their proposal to hold immigrant families indefinitely in government custody.

“Each member of the CHC—both returning and incoming—offers a fresh perspective to our important work in Congress, and I know each and every one of us will be committed to providing all Americans an equal chance to succeed,” said Chairman Castro.

New Congressional Hispanic Caucus Members:

Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39) is a US Navy veteran and comes to Congress as a first-time candidate for political office, successfully running on a solidly Democratic platform. A native of greater Los Angeles who has used his good fortune to invest in underserved communities and students, he says he is invested in the region and plans to focus on issues that directly impact his constituents, including health care, education, common sense gun legislation and immigration. 

Congressman Mike Levin (CA-49) is a former environmental lawyer and clean energy advocate who wants to promote clean energy policies in the House. Levin is a newcomer to elected office but hardly a newcomer to elections – he specialized in grassroots campaigning and served as a Democratic Party operative at the state, local and national levels. He was executive director of the Orange County Democratic Party from 2006-07. 

Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26) is the first Ecuadorian elected to Congress and the first Latina South American born member of Congress. With her majority Latino district comprised of many Cuban-Americans and recent immigrants from South and Latin America, she will pay close attention to developments in the Western Hemisphere and will focus on issues relating to health care, climate change, immigration, and gun control. 

Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04)  counts on his immigrant background—he was born in Mexico, the son of a farmworker—and his experience as community organizer, to help move the Democratic Party to embrace wider shared prosperity. Garcia is succeeding 13-term Democrat Luis V. Gutiérrez, who is retiring. He will continue his predecessor’s impassioned approach in fighting for immigrants, but he will also fight for his progressive vision on transportation and infrastructure to invest in our neighborhoods, and in our national railroad and interstate highway systems, and integrating and expanding the transit systems throughout the country.

Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) was a former CEO of a corporate leadership training company and focused on developing leadership roles for women in the private sector.

Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02) is the second Democrat and first Latina to hold New Mexico’s 2nd district. A former attorney specializing in water and natural resources, Torres Small will focus on addressing the issues facing southern New Mexicans while working to protect their rural way of life.  She will work across party lines to improve healthcare affordability and accessibility, invest in both traditional infrastructure projects as well as infrastructure of the 21st century, and develop strong, smart, and fair border security and immigration policies.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) comes to Congress as part of a new generation that’s commited to fighting Republicans’ aggressive, partisan tactics with its own, and would not compromise liberal goals. In addition to Medicare and jobs for all and free college, Ocasio-Cortez promised paid family and sick leave, housing for all, an end to the war on drugs and for-profit prisons, protection for the so-called Dreamers and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the country, funding for infrastructure and an overhaul of campaign finance laws aimed at excising corporate money.

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) ran for Congress in Texas’ 16th Congressional District to fight for El Paso’s working families and to give border communities a new champion in Washington. She has more than a decade of experience as a public servant, most recently serving in her second term as El Paso County judge after completing one term as a county commissioner. A proud third-generation El Pasoan, Veronica grew up knowing the value of hard work through her childhood on the family dairy farm. Veronica has been a vocal advocate for the border, working early in her career for the Border Network for Human Rights and continuing to fight for sensible immigration reform and protecting our DREAMers. Veronica has worked tirelessly to increase economic opportunity and the quality of life in El Paso, and to expand access to health care and transportation. She and her husband live in El Paso, the community where they raised their two college-aged children.

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) is a former judge, city controller and county commissioner. As one of the first Hispanic women in Congress from Texas, she will continue her more than two decades of public service, most recently as a state senator whose district encompasses her congressional district. She will be a strong champion for the proposed Dream Act and a voice for working families in the halls of Congress. 

Congressman Michael San Nicolas (Guam) is a three-term Democratic state senator coming to Congress with a dedication to public service.

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.