Meet the freshman class of history-making Latinos who’ll be sworn into Congress today
The 2022 midterm elections set a new record for Latino representation on both sides of the political aisle.
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The United States Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 3 will swear in the newly-elected members of the 117th Congress, and among them is a first-year class of Latinos who have only just begun to make political inroads.
Latinos, for Democrats and Republicans, led historic races across the country by chasing seemingly unlikely successes, and in many districts, they exceeded expectations, with some candidates flipping their districts.
As a result, Congress is now tasked with swearing in a freshman class of Latinos whose electoral victories signify a changing makeup in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
How many candidates ran?
During the 2022 race, 50 Latinos vied for Democratic seats, whereas 33 Latino Republicans sought their own victories.
How many candidates won?
Democrats secured 10 congressional seats, while Republicans snagged four.
What is the relevance?
There is continued, scarce representation in Congress for minority populations in the U.S. Hispanics on the mainland make up 19% of the nation’s population, but only 9% are lawmakers, and 6% are Senators.
Latinos in the 2022 midterm cycle made waves as political hopefuls realized their power as a voting block that could sway elections either way.
Still, voters in this group maintained they barely heard from candidates throughout the election cycle.
Meet the incoming class of Latinos and Hispanics in Congress:
Representative-elect Robert García - Democrat
Rep. García is a Californian academic who holds a doctorate in education from California State University. He is a Peruvian-American whose family migrated from Lima, Perú, when he was five years old.
Much like his academic career, Rep. García’s political record is formidable. In 2009, Rep. García swept a local city council election against six other candidates. And in 2014, he was elected Mayor of Long Beach as the first Latino and openly gay man to hold that office.
Rep. García is the first Latino to endorse California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Representative-elect Yadira Caraveo - Democrat
Democrat pediatrician Yadira Caraveo is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first Latina to serve a newly-formed Colorado district in Congress. She was first elected to the State House in 2018.
The redrawn district Rep. Caraveo sought to lead observed a booming Latino electorate that ultimately ushered her to victory in a race that was razor thin to the call.
Representative-elect Maxwell Frost - Democrat
The 25-year-old Rep. Frost is the youngest elected member of Congress, marking the first member of Gen-Z to achieve a congressional victory in deep-red Florida, following in Val Demings’ footsteps.
Rep. Frost is a lauded gun reform activist, having been raised around news of gun violence.
His victory is considered momentous for a new generation of voters.
Representative-elect Delia Ramírez - Democrat
Guatemalan-American Rep. Ramírez is the first Latina to score a congressional victory in the U.S. Midwest.
Rep. Ramírez’s parents crossed the U.S.-Mexico border when she was still in the womb. After a career in community advocacy and on-the-ground work, Rep. Ramírez chased a political seat in 2018 successfully in Illinois’ 4th state house district.
Rep. Ramírez now serves a vibrant, diverse community in Illinois’ 3rd congressional district.
Representative-elect Andrea Salinas - Democrat
Rep. Andrea Salinas was one of two Latinas to take Oregon politics by storm. She is a celebrated progressive in her district, landing her a feature on EMILY’s List, a group dedicated to furthering Latina political bids.
Representative-elect Greg Casar - Democrat
Rep. Greg Casar is the self-described Progressive Democrat who won his bid for Texas’s 35th District.
Prior to his congressional bid, Rep. Casar served Austin City Council as the rep. for the 4th district from 2015-2022. During his city council days, Rep. Casar was known for supporting cuts to the police department and his battle against encampment bans.
He was endorsed by other prominent progressives — including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Representative-elect Gabe Vasquez - Democrat
Before his foray into New Mexico congressional politics, Rep. Vasquez served a slate of leadership positions in the wildlife conservation space. In 2021, Rep. Vasquez sought and secured a seat on Las Cruces City Council.
Rep. Vasquez was born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
Representative-elect Marie Gluesenkamp Perez - Democrat
Rep. Perez’s race in Washington’s 3rd congressional district was billed as the “most stunning political upset in the country this year” by The Seattle Times. She faced off with Republican Joe Kent in a Republican-leaning district.
Rep. Perez, during a news conference, said she received no endorsement from national organizations except BOLD PAC, the Congressional arm of the Hispanic Caucus, helped by Rep. Ruben Gallego.
Representative-elect Rob Menéndez Jr. - Democrat
Rep. Menéndez is a Cuban-American attorney who served as commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from 2021-2023, where he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
Now, Rep. Menéndez follows in his father’s footsteps and pursues a life in Congress as the Rep. for New Jersey’s 8th Congressional district.
Senator Alex Padilla - Democrat
Sen. Padilla was first appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to fill a vacancy left by Vice President Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate.
In 2022, Sen. Padilla became the first Latino Senator elected from the state of California.
Representative-elect Anna Paulina Luna - Republican
A U.S. Air Force Veteran, Rep. Luna pulled a political upset in a blue stronghold in Florida held by an incumbent. Rep. Luna is a political newcomer who rode on the coattails of former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, ultimately flipping the district red and becoming the first Latina woman to do so.
She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants.
Representative-elect Mónica De La Cruz
Rep. De La Cruz was a rising star among the GOP and one of three ballooned by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. She represents Texas’s 15th district after flipping it red in the midterms. Rep. De La Cruz is the first Hispanic woman to win the seat.
Representative-elect George Santos - Republican
Rep. Santos's victory in New York's Long Beach was considered significant in many respects. He was the only openly gay man on a Republican ticket who also marketed himself as a Brazilian immigrant, which he used to heighten his electability, as well as the possibility of running with those qualifiers for the GOP.
Rep. Santos contributed to the many political fall-outs for Democrats in New York. In the weeks since, Rep. Santos has been on damage control after making an alarming number of false claims regarding his resume and background - including, but not limited to: his professional experience, marriage, nationality, campaign funds, and most recently, inconsistencies with his mother's passing.
Representative-elect Juan Ciscomani
Rep. Ciscomani is the first Latino Republican to represent Arizona in Congress in its 6th district.
He was a longtime aide in Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s office, and before that, he was vice president of outreach for the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Representative-elect Lori Chávez-DeRemer - Republican
Formerly a small town Mayor in Oregon, Mexican-American Chávez-DeRemer becomes the first Latina in Congress from the state along with Rep. Salinas.
Her triumph in Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District was considered a blow for Democrats who battled for control of the House. Throughout the race, she ran with strong Republican endorsements, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who said she was “proud to endorse her.”