The Latest: NALEO: New Mexico Senate team needs Hispanics
Jan. 19, 2018
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on Hispanic representation in the New Mexico Senate leadership. (all times local):
A national group representing Hispanic elected officials called a newly installed all-white New Mexico Senate leadership team "flabbergasting" and applauded the state's Hispanic lawmakers for creating a bipartisan Hispanic Caucus.
Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, told The Associated Press he was shocked to learn that the New Mexico Senate Democrats elected a leadership team without any Hispanics.
Vargas says he could see that happening "in 1818, not 2018" given New Mexico's long history of elected Hispanic officials.
New Mexico senators are moving to create a bipartisan Legislative Hispanic Caucus amid declining Latino leadership numbers in the state House and Senate.
Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen said although the Democratic leadership is all white, a number of Hispanic senators chair key committees.
State lawmakers in New Mexico have formed a bipartisan Legislative Hispanic Caucus amid declining Latino leadership numbers in the state House and Senate.
Sen. Jacob Candelaria submitted a letter Thursday to the New Mexico Senate seeking recognition of the caucus in a state with the highest percentage of Hispanic residents in the nation.
Sen. John Sapien, a Corrales Democrat, told The Associated Press that he and other Hispanic lawmakers in the past had opted not to form a Hispanic Caucus since there were Hispanics in legislative leadership positions.
But Sapien says that changed in recent days after Senate Democrats selected an all-white Senate leadership team for the first time since 1986.
Candelaria says the caucus will focus on poverty and education issues around the state's Hispanic communities.