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Sisterly support creates a winning team in Congress

Congresswomen and sisters Loretta and Linda Sánchez grew up the daughters of Mexican immigrants in California. Being bilingual and bicultural, the women share how they balanced both worlds to achieve the ultimate American Dream.

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LatinaLista — Linda and Loretta Sánchez made history when they became the first sisters to serve in Congress together. Yet, the fact that these two California Latinas of Mexican immigrant parents were able to rise from humble beginnings, attain post-graduate degrees and win their respective races when the political odds were stacked against them is a greater testament to each woman’s place in history and serves as the foundation for their new book Dream in Color: How the Sánchez Sisters Are Making History in Congress (Hachette Book Group USA 2008).

Alternating their perspectives, Loretta and Linda share memories of juggling a bicultural and bilingual childhood in a household of seven children. However, with Loretta being the second eldest and Linda next to the youngest, what emerges in the book are two distinct voices who shared similar life experiences tempered more by their birth order than heritage.

For example, Loretta, being the oldest girl, bore the brunt of her parents’ uneasiness with American society’s relaxed social attitudes. She found herself the bridge between traditional expectations while trying to fit in with her non-Hispanic friends. Because Loretta was the first girl in the family to straddle both cultures, Linda benefited from a less strict upbringing by her parents, but the trade-off is that Loretta never lets her little sister forget who is older.

It is this kind of sisterly exchange that gives readers a greater understanding of how these two women challenge and support one another, as sisters do, but also as colleagues in Congress.

With each confessing a different style in how she gets business done in Washington, both women reveal to readers the intimate differences between them as only sisters can get away with.

Yet, each refers to their upbringing as the foundation for how they live both their personal and professional lives today and how the examples of their parents proved key to understanding that dreams are meant to be achieved.

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