From local school boards to the halls of Congress, the number of elected officials of Hispanic origin has increased throughout the United States.
In two decades (between 2001 and 2021), the number of people of Hispanic origin elected to public office, serving on local school boards or in municipal offices, as well as legislators or governors in states, or members of the United States Congress almost decreased. doubled, from 4,060 to 7,087, according to the NALEO Educational Fund (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officialsin English), a nonpartisan group that encourages people of Hispanic descent in the United States to participate in the American political process.
“There is a lot of room for growth,” said Dorian Caal, director of the fund, as this group becomes a larger part of the American population and the voting age population.
At the national level, the percentage of people of Hispanic origin among all eligible voters in the United States is increasing, according to the research center Pew Research Centerand from 7.4% of eligible voters in 2000 to 14.3% in 2022. And so is the percentage of people of Hispanic descent in the US population, which has grown to 19% today, according to polling company. Ipsos.
The trend is happening in states like Florida and California, which have large Spanish-speaking populations, but also across the country, Caal said. He noted that people of Hispanic origin were also appointed to prominent positions in the government or the courts. He pointed to the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Recently, the House of Representatives and the Senate have broken records for the representation of people of Hispanic/Latino descent. The House set a new record after the 2022 midterm elections, with 52 members of Hispanic origin, according to Caal. The Senate has a record six members of Hispanic descent. (The Congressional Research Service lists 54 members of the House with Hispanic/Latino ancestry.)
The seats in the state legislature across the country also saw an increase after the 2022 elections: from 344 to 376.
The number of governors of Hispanic origin, although slowly increasing, is the most prominent in the state of New Mexico, whose voters now elect Governor Michelle Luján Grisham, the first woman of Hispanic origin Democrat elected governor in history in the United States. Luján Grisham succeeded the first governor of Hispanic origin, Republican Susana Martínez. Before Martínez, New Mexico voters elected several male governors of Hispanic descent, including Toney Anaya, the late Jerry Apodaca and the late Bill Richardson, who also held congressional and Cabinet positions as Secretary of Energy and as the representative of the United States to the United Nations. .
Kristoffer Shields, director of the Eagleton Center on American Governors (American Governor’s Eagleton Center) of Rutgers University, states that the predominance of candidates of Hispanic origin in New Mexico is due in part to the success of candidates with a Hispanic background that gives birth to more success and in part to the existence of a league -on bloc of voters of Hispanic origin. the state.
According to the Pew Research Center, New Mexico is the only state where people of Hispanic origin are the largest ethnic/racial group, with 42% of eligible voters.
“Representation is always important. “You have to see it to believe it,” Shields said. “We’re a diverse country. “It’s important, especially at the highest levels of government, to have people from different backgrounds who understand their communities so that communities have a voice.”