It’s time for champions to be born among Washington’s Latino politicians

LatinaLista — Before Congresswoman Hilda Solis accepted the nomination to be Labor Secretary, she was known to those of us who aren’t her California constituents for being a champion of women. Women who suffered as victims of domestic violence and women who were suffering across the border in Juarez, Mexico as victims of faceless assailants who kidnapped and murdered the women’s daughters.

Congresswoman Hilda Solis
Solis didn’t just sponsor bills as a congresswoman; she got involved and championed issues. If her nomination passes the Senate, then the Latino community has lost one congressperson who went beyond the call of duty to actively support those bills that most directly resonate with the greater Latino constituency.
To some this may sound like a love letter to Rep. Hilda Solis, but it’s a sad realization that too few Latino congressional representatives take advantage of their positions to champion causes that touch the heart of the collective Latino community.
Given the small number of Latino representation on the Hill, Latino politicians’ jobs in Congress are a little harder than that of their colleagues because while they represent the immediate interests of those whose votes put them in Washington, they also must answer to the collective Latino pride that continually sees them and uses them as role models.


Latino representation in Congress has not done enough to reach out to the collective Latino constituency, nor champion those issues that plague the Latino community which create the dismal statistics that never seem to improve.
Washington’s Latino politicians need to actively reach out and get to know the Hispanic blogger community and communicate what they’re doing, what issues they are working on, why they’re doing it and what impact it will have on the national Latino constituency. So, in turn, we can relay the message that dry press releases never quite accomplish.
Washington’s Latino politicians need to aggressively work with organizations to bring more young Latinos into the political process.
And finally, in this new age in Washington, it’s time for Latino politicians to answer the call to service to the larger community and create real change in championing those national issues that are holding the collective Latino community back from reaching their full potential.
It’s about time we had some Latino heroes in Washington.

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10 Comments

  1. adriana said:

    Great post Marisa.
    I would love to see Latino pols in DC engage more with bloggers and report back on their successes and even failures. The dry press releases that you mention often tell one side of the story. If they worked closer with us, they might realize that we can harness the power of the net for some of the causes that they are pushing.
    I think that one key way for us to start holding them more accountable is to examine their committee assignments to see how they are spending their days on the hill.

  2. Marisa Treviño said:

    I agree Adriana. I think we need to do it to foster the kind of political growth most of us want to see happen.

  3. Sandra said:

    So Latino policians should represent the interests of Latinos, Blacks should represent interests of Blacks, and Whites should represent interests of Whites? I thought we were supposed to be united as a country and that politicans are supposed to represent ALL of us? Am I wrong? Why would the different races in this country have different interests anyway?

  4. Liquidmicro said:

    The representatives you are talking about are elected based on their district in the state from which they come, not their ethnicity. There constituents of their districts are who they should be listening to, not the Hispanic/Latino collective nation.

  5. laura said:

    Marisa, in an earlier post you asked why Latina/os have less respect than African-Americans. One of my answers is that many visible Latina/o leaders are not selfless heroes who work for their community, but self-promoting individuals who lack a sense of ethics.- Another reason may be that true heroes don’t receive enough community support.
    Here is Hilda Solis – a true hero! A superb nominee for a very important cabinet position, knowledgeable and hardworking. A leader who devotes herself to defend the weakest, most downtrodden. Now her nomination is running into strong resistance in the Senate from Republicans who don’t like Rep. Solis’ support of unions.
    Shouldn’t we all be calling, writing, emailing, faxing our senators to support Hilda Solis – now? I already did – please raise your voices too!

  6. Sandra said:

    No matter how many words you use for illegal aliens such as “down trodden”, the weakest, etc” meant to illicit sympathy, there is still that little thing called immigration laws in our country and they violated them. I feel no tug on my heartstings for those who have nothing but contempt for our laws and soveirgnty as a nation.

  7. Texano78704 said:

    Hmm, if this were forty years ago — and a bunch of white folk were sitting around telling black folk that they did not need blacks to represent them in government, that those people currently running the government (whites) were really there to represent the interest of everyone — would anyone believe the rhetoric?
    And why should Latinos believe it now?

  8. Sandra said:

    Texano, I have the perfect answer to your question of “why should Latinos believe it NOW?” The answer would is: because this is not 40 years ago! We are no longer living in 1950s Selma, Alabama with Jim Crow laws! The country has eliminated institutionalized racism; there are EEOC laws and legal recourse for those who feel they have been victimized. We have implemented affirmative action, special programs for minorities, college loans and grants.
    The problem is that there is money to be made and political power to be gained by some by perpetuating this “victim”mentality which refuses to acknowledge that our society has moved past the Civil Rights era. There are those who have everthing to gain by dividing people up into “groups” which can then be pandered to individually and played off each other.
    Latinos aren’t the only ethnic group in this country. If every ethnic group begins to elect only those who share their ethnicity and race, then Martin Luther King’s dream of judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin will truly be dead. Most whites today do not vote based upon ethnicity/skin color as evidenced by Obama’s election. He could not have won without a large percentage of whites voting for him. However, if other groups insist on maintaining this “tribal” mentality, then this might begin to change and we will revert into a tribal society.

  9. Sandra said:

    Texano,
    What is just remarkable is that you act as though the past 45 years or so never happened! As though there was no Civil Rights Act passed, no AA or special programs targeted towards minorities and minority-owned businesses. My God, whites are now the minority in just about every single major American city and even in some states now! There are “minorities” at every level of government, including the White House!
    Nah, your entire problem is that you think that you are “oppressed” because Americans of all races and ethnicities want our immigration laws enforced and our borders secured. Since most of the illegals are Latinos, ethnocentric Latinos are convincing themselves that they are back in the Jim Crow days. In reality, we are just insisting that our immigration laws be respected just like Mexico and other countries do. Latinos are the second highest ethnic group in terms of immigration to this country, so they are far from being discriminated against.

  10. Horace said:

    Sandra,
    Latino illegal alien advocates and self-pitying Latinos would like nothing more than to lay the blame for their economic plight on the white man, when it is actually the failings of Hispanic culture that are the causes for their problems. It’s alway psychologically easier to be delusionally retrospective than it is to be critically introspective, in spite of its futility in achieving a rational outcome.

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