The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has announced today that Congressmen Henry Cuellar (TX – 23) and Ben Ray Luján (NM – 03) will head up the DCCC’s Latino council, which will help recruit and support Latino candidates. This comes after an election season where a record number of Latinos were elected to Congress. This is part of a push by the DCCC to increase Latino engagement and continue to build upon the large Latino support for Democratic candidates. Back in August of last year, the DCCC launched a “Mi Congreso Mi Voto” campaign where voters could pledge to vote for Democratic candidates down the ballot, register to vote, and get information about events for candidates in their local communities.
In announcing the DCCC Latino Council, Representative Steve Israel, chair of the DCCC, explained, “Democrats just elected a historic number of Latinos to Congress because our party is working hard on the issues that matter: expanding the middle class, fixing our broken immigration system and educating the next generation. More than half of House Democrats are minorities or women, and we are determined to have a caucus that not only looks like America, but stands for the American Dream. Representatives Cuellar and Luján are proven leaders – and they will bring the issues that are important to the Latino community front and center for our members and our candidates, while ensuring that we recruit and support strong Latino candidates and candidates who stand with the Latino community.”
In the last election cycle, DCCC helped recruit and support candidates such as Raul Ruiz (CA), Joe García (FL), and Pete Gallego (TX) all in districts with substantial Latino communities. Latinos are still likely to lean Democratic with recent polling showing that Democrats enjoy a 2-1 advantage over the GOP among Hispanics. Additionally, children of Latino immigrants identify with the Democratic Party more than their parents. Although Latinos favor Democrats and are an increasingly important part of the electorate, they are still underrepresented in Congress.
Congressman Luján said, “In the past few years, we’ve seen too much division, racial profiling and denial of basic civil rights – and we need to stop the extremists in Congress who have stood in the way of the dreams and aspirations of hard-working people who want nothing more than a better life for themselves and their families. The values this great country was founded on are the values we need to pass on to the next generation: hard work, opportunity for all, and fairness. Those are the values the Democratic Party fights for – and that’s why I agreed to lead this effort, because I truly believe we need the resources to elect more Latinos who share our values, and we need to encourage Latinos to get out and vote.”
And Congressman Cuellar made the case for why Latinos should continue supporting Democratic candidates, “Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of our population, and it’s our job to make sure that the American Dream is wide open to all of them – that means the best schools, an immigration system that makes sense, and every opportunity to succeed. The United States is the greatest country in the world, and Democrats understand how to expand that dream to everyone who comes to this country. I’m proud to lead this effort to make sure that Latinos are represented at the highest levels of our government – and that Latinos head to the polls in 2014.”
Check out the video announcement below: