Meet the Hispanic Caucus leaders of the 117th Congress
Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) will succeed Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) in January as chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) recently selected its new leaders, including new chair, Rep. Raul Ruiz from California’s Coachella Valley.
The newly-announced leadership includes prominent faces from within the CHC. They include Ruiz (CA-39), First Vice Chair Rep. Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Second Vice Chair Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Whip Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09), and Freshman Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03).
— Hispanic Caucus (@HispanicCaucus) December 8, 2020
Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, Ruiz grew up in Coachella with farmworker parents. He will take over the CHC chairmanship next month, succeeding current chair Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX).
Prior to his initial election to Congress in 2012, Ruiz worked as an ER doctor at Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Since his selection, he has said his focus will be on fixing long-standing inequalities, including those exposed in Latinx communities across the country battling COVID-19.
Since his election to the House, Ruiz has been regarded as a hero on Capitol Hill and nationally for assisting multiple passengers who fell ill during his frequent commutes between California and Washington, even once resuscitating a passenger on a flight with then-Rep. Pete Gallego (D-TX).
“I am grateful and honored to have earned the vote and confidence of the @HispanicCaucus members to lead the Caucus through the 117th Congress,” Ruiz wrote on Twitter, linking a full statement where he reinforced that battling the healthcare inequities against Latinos exposed throughout 2020 will be at the forefront of his leadership.
— Raul Ruiz (@RepRaulRuizMD) December 8, 2020
The first vice chair for the 116th Congress, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), was favorably positioned to run for chair, but instead chose to become chairman of the CHC’s campaign arm, Bold PAC, succeeding Rep. Tony Cárdenas.
Most recently the CHC has been lobbying for the Biden administration to select more Latinos and Latinas into his Cabinet, especially in regards to its perceived “snubbing” of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for a cabinet position.
So far, he has selected Alejandro Mayorkas to be the first-ever Latino as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, and Calif. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, to serve as the director of Health and Human Services. No Latina has been selected to a spot yet.