Sanchez enjoys the ‘hunks’

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) was flanked by good-looking male celebrities on Tuesday night, and she said that’s just how she likes it. 

Speaking at the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts’s annual Noche de Gala dinner at the Mayflower Hotel, Sanchez took the stage alongside actors Esai Morales (CBS’s “Jericho”) and Jimmy Smits (“The West Wing” and NBC’s “Outlaw”).

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“I look forward to this dinner all year,” Sanchez gushed, “because I get to stand next to all these hunks!” 

Sanchez looked pretty glamorous herself. Dressed in a floor-length strapless gown with flowers on it, the lawmaker would have been right at home on a Hollywood red carpet.

Or, perhaps, at a Playboy Mansion party (fully dressed, of course) — Sanchez made headlines last month when she met with Hugh Hefner at the mansion for lunch, a meeting that by all accounts was strictly business. 

But even in a strapless gown, Sanchez couldn’t resist bringing a little wonky Washington humor to the L.A. crowd Tuesday night. Turning to Smits, who played the fictional president Matt Santos on “The West Wing,” Sanchez joked, “Jimmy has held all the good jobs in Washington: congressman, president, Supreme Court justice, you name it.” 

The crowd chuckled. “So after all these government jobs, how do you think your retirement benefits are going to work out?” Bad-um-ching! 

Sanchez wasn’t the only Latina lawmaker who got some love at the gala. ITK spoke to Spanish talk-show mogul Cristina Saralegui, who singled out fellow Cuban-American Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) as her favorite member of Congress.

“She is my dear friend,” said Cristina, “so how could I not choose her as my favorite?”