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Major Hispanic group launches support of 'milestone' Latina candidates

Major Hispanic group launches support of 'milestone' Latina candidates
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The Latino Victory Fund announced Wednesday a new program to support candidates who are running to be the first Latinas to hold specific offices.

The program, dubbed "First Latinas," will be formally launched Wednesday at an event featuring actress and activist Eva Longoria Bastón and Cecile Richards, founder of Supermajority, a political advocacy group focused on empowering women.

“It is imperative that the diverse issues that affect the Latino community are addressed, and who better to do this than the women who are already organizing and leading in their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces," said Richards.

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The program will endorse and support the candidacies of Latinas who run for seats that have never been held by Hispanic women.

In its launch statement, the Latino Victory Fund highlighted four Latinas who are running for Congress in 2020: Candace Valenzuela in Texas, who would be the first Afro-Latina in Congress; Christina Hale, who would be the first Latina in Congress from Indiana; Michelle de la Isla, who would be the first Latina in Congress from Kansas; and Georgette Gómez, who would be the first openly LGBTQ Latina in Congress.

“Latinas are transforming the political landscape in races across the country and they’re winning,” said Nathalie Rayes, Latino Victory Fund president & CEO. “First Latinas aims to increase Latina representation and break barriers for future generations of Latinas who will see themselves in these key decision-making positions."

The program is expected to build on the fast growth of Latina representation since 2016, when Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoHispanic leaders coalesce in support of Lujan Grisham as HHS secretary Favorites emerge as Latino leaders press Biden to appoint 5 Hispanics to Cabinet Senate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  MORE (D-Nev.) became the first Latina elected to the Senate, although only one Latina, Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.) was elected to the House.

In the 2018 midterms, five of the 10 Hispanics elected to Congress were women, including Democratic Reps. Sylvia García and Verónica Escobar, the first two Latinas to represent Texas in the House of Representatives.

In 2018, an election that Latino Victory Fund dubbed "the year of the Latina," Hispanic women accounted for 60 percent of the elections won by the group's endorsees.

"We cannot have a fully representative democracy if we do not have more Latinas at the table advocating for their communities. I know that because of Latino Victory’s First Latinas program not only will we have more Latinas elected to office this year, but a new generation of Latinas will know that they can be next,” said Richards.