Senator María Elena Durazo to Serve as Chair of the CA Latino Legislative Caucus, Assemblymember Robert Rivas Elected as Vice Chair
SACRAMENTO – The California Latino Legislative Caucus (CLLC) announced today that Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) has been elected to serve as the caucus Chair for the 2021-22 legislative session. Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) was elected as Vice-Chair. Chairs are limited to one, two-year term. Comprised of 29 State Legislators (7 Senators and 22 Assemblymembers), including a record-high 16 Latinas, the CLLC serves as a forum to develop avenues to empower the Latino community throughout California.
“I first and foremost want to thank our outgoing Chair Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez for her steadfast leadership and vision for the California Latino Legislative Caucus. Under her leadership, 21 priority bills were signed into law and we raised $500,000 for scholarships to benefit students across California,” Senator Durazo said. “I also want to thank my colleagues for trusting me to continue the caucus’s work. During COVID-19, we will continue to focus on worker health and safety, the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the Latino community, expanding the state’s safety net to include all Californians, and ensuring Latinos in California get equity education and economic opportunities they deserve, regardless of immigration status. I very much look forward to working with the Vice Chair Assemblymember Robert Rivas.”
Senator María Elena Durazo was elected as State Senator of the 24th District in 2018. She represents the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, Echo Park, Silver Lake and East Los Angeles. Senator Durazo is the Assistant Majority Whip of the Senate and sits on the Senate Committees on Appropriations, Banking and Financial Institutions, Education, Judiciary, and Housing. Since assuming office, she has worked extensively on initiatives to expand Medi-Cal coverage to all Californians regardless of their immigration status. Senator Durazo has served as Vice Chair of the Latino Caucus since December 2018.
“I am grateful to my colleagues in the Latino Legislative Caucus for confidence in my leadership during this unprecedented time in California’s history,” Assemblymember Rivas said. “The current pandemic and economic recession have absolutely devastated Latino communities across the State. Latinos make up almost 50 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in California, and Latinas in particular have been hit the hardest by the economic recession, with 30 percent losing their jobs during the first few months of the pandemic. The next legislative session will be incredibly important for the Caucus and for the health and wellbeing of the State’s Latino plurality, and I look forward to working with Senator and Chair Durazo on these urgent issues.”
Assemblymember Robert Rivas was elected to represent the 30th Assembly District in 2018. His district encompasses the inland Monterey Bay Area and other parts of the northern Central Coast, as well as the outer San Jose suburb of Morgan Hill. The district is centered on the major agricultural areas of the Pajaro Valley and the Salinas Valley. This year, he successfully championed a farmworkers relief legislative package to support essential farmworkers during the coronavirus pandemic. Rivas serves as Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee.
“It has been an honor to serve as Chair of the Latino Caucus over these last two years,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “When we use our collective power, the members of our Caucus are able to push forward substantial reforms that support our Latino community statewide. During this pandemic, we fought successfully to secure protections for essential Latino workers and financial relief for our undocumented community. I look forward to continue working with my colleagues and our new leadership in the Latino Caucus to continue uplifting our community.”
The outgoing Chair of the Latino Caucus, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), led several important initiatives during her leadership. Assemblywoman Gonzalez was integral in raising a record half-million dollars for the Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation to provide $5,000 scholarships to 102 California students in 2019 and 2020. She directed a campaign to put a national spotlight the 25th anniversary of Proposition 187 and the impact that 1994 initiative had on California’s Latino community for generations.
Under her leadership, the governor signed 21 Latino Caucus bill priorities, including legislation to expand Medi-Cal to all young adults in the state, regardless of immigration status. Amid the ongoing pandemic, Assemblywoman Gonzalez led the Latino Caucus in shoring up workplace safety protections for essential workers and expanding the California Earned Income Tax Credit to immigrant tax filers. She also launched the Unseen Latinas Initiative, a new two-year effort to address the crisis of inequities facing California Latinas in economic outcomes, career and leadership opportunities, and education in the state.
For questions or to schedule an interview with a member of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, contact Sami Gallegos (209) 658-7617.