On Dec. 17, local state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez held a celebratory luncheon for nearly 50 elected Latino officials in recognition of recent electoral gains throughout Massachusetts, according to a press release.
After the November elections, there are now almost 50 Latino elected officials in the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is a considerable growth from the seven Latino officials 20 years ago. Over half of the new 50 elected officials were present at the luncheon, representing all levels of government and communities including Boston, Lawrence, Chelsea, Fall River, Haverhill, Springfield, Holyoke, and Revere.
“I was watching the election cycle and saw all these names of Latinos who are running for office across the state and I thought to myself ‘wow, that’s pretty impressive. Let’s see where we end up,” said Sanchez, according to the press release. “And to see at the end of it how many of you won and how big of an impact you had in your own communities was even bigger. It just shows that when we put our minds to it that we can make a difference and become an elected voice.”
The luncheon aimed to create networking connections between the officials.
“The purpose is not only to celebrate you, but to provide you with the names, relationships, and resources so you can do what you need to get done in your communities,” said Sanchez, according to the press release.
The luncheon also provided several resources for the elected officials, including presentations from the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), the Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at University of Massachusetts-Boston, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, and the Massachusetts Municipal Association.
Attendees were also provided with a directory containing the contact information of every Latino elected official in the Commonwealth, an inventory which did not exist prior to the event.
“This is just the beginning of a support network,” stated Sanchez. “I remember how daunting it was when I was first elected, so I hope this guidance will make the transition to leadership a little easier. I can’t wait to work with everyone.”