At the start of the 113thCongress, there will be more Latinos elected to Congress than any other time in this country’s history. It is a proud day to have so many voted in, which shows the growing influence the Latino vote has, on a national level. With over 50 million Latinos in the country and 24 million eligible to vote, Latinos have shown the nation that our influence is here to stay. But will it be enough to make a difference in the 113th Congress.
Before the 2012 elections, there were two Hispanic members in the Senate and 24 in the House, totaling 26 elected officials of Hispanic or Latino descendant. After the election, another Hispanic Senator and four members of Congress were chosen, for a total of three Senators and 28 members of Congress. This election resulted in a 20% increase, with a grand total of 31 Latinos elected on Capitol Hill.
Democrats picked up six new seats in the House, while Republicans lost two seats, but picked up one new Senate seat with the election of Sen. Ted Cruz of TX. Another name making headway on Capitol Hill is Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX), twin brother of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who was the first Hispanic Keynote speaker at a Democratic national convention.
With a lot of legislation left over from the 112th Congress, will this group of bright-eyed Latino legislators help move the country forward? Will the top issues of today: fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, the federal budget and gun control overshadow issues affecting the Latino community as a whole such as jobs, the economy, and immigration? Only time will tell whether the 113th Congress will help the country move forward, and which Latino members will play a key part.
Follow Juan Torrico on Twitter @juantorrico