Hispanic Americans have made tremendous contributions to American politics. From authoring and voting for important pieces of legislation, to ensuring that Hispanics and other people of color were not left out of the democratic process, our country would not be where it is today if not for their insight and hard work on Capitol Hill and state houses across the country.
AFGE’s Hispanic Coalition (HISCO) has been a vital and active coalition within AFGE. HISCO supports professional advancement, leadership development and educational opportunities for AFGE members of Hispanic origin. Throughout the past two decades HISCO has provided hospitality for AFGE events and raised awareness of issues of importance to Hispanics through its educational and cultural programs.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, AFGE’s Women’s and Fair Practices Departments would like to take the opportunity to highlight just a few facts behind the Hispanics Americans who have shaped American politics.
The first Hispanic member of Congress was Joseph Marion Hernández. In 1823, he was sworn in as a Territorial Delegate from Florida. His leadership was key to Florida’s territory changing from Spanish to U.S. rule.
Henry B. González (D-TX-20)—born Enrique Barbosa González—was first elected in 1953. He served on and eventually became Chairman of the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee, where he worked tirelessly on legislation such as the Housing Act and Civil Rights Act of 1964. He later became Chairman of the House Assassinations Committee which was created to investigate the murders of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Herman Badillo (D-NY-22), Baltasar Corrada (PR), Eligio “Kika” de la Garza (D-TX-15), Henry B. González and Edward Roybal (D-CA-25) formed the caucus in 1976 to meet the needs of Hispanic Americans. In 1978, just two years after inception, the CHC formed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) to provide educational opportunities for the Hispanic community and to support legislation that matters to this community.
Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor who was appointed by President Obama in 2009.