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NJ Latina leaders announce launch of Latina Civic PAC 

Statewide Latina leaders Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina, Laura Matos and Andrea Martinez-Mejia recently announced the launching of a newly formed organization – Latina Civic. 

On Twitter, the organization announced that Latina Civic will be a rebrand / spin-off of LUPE PAC, an organization that began in 1999 in collaboration with the Hispanic National Bar Association to organize a national training event for Latinas interested in running for public office. This initial event led to the official launch of LUPE in 2001. 

Latina Civic

NJ Latina Leaders announce launch of LUPE PAC rebrand / spin-off, Latina Civic PAC. (Image source)

For years, LUPE helped Latinas through training and networking opportunities. Then, after successfully graduating many Latinas from campaign training, it became clear that LUPE needed to expand its work beyond training and networking opportunities, and in 2009 LUPE PAC was launched. The  non-partisan political action committee, focused solely on providing financial support to progressive Latinas who make the leap and run for office, is now launching a rebrand / spin-off, Latina Civic PAC, which will work to continue the mission of supporting Latinas’ pursuits in civic life and leadership. 

With an eye on the growing Latina engagement in civic and electoral activities in the state of New Jersey, Latina Civic forms three separate entities that creates diverse opportunities for participation and engagement of Latinas in all aspects of the political process. From education and training to issue advocacy & electoral candidate support the ultimate goal is getting Latinas’ voices heard at the ballot box and in the public sphere.

Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina, LUPE PAC board member and Latina Civic Action President. (Image Source)

“Supporting women will continue to be at the forefront of our organization’s mission. New Jersey is a state with so much opportunity and potential for Latinas; our growing numbers as a population also means that we must enhance our capacity to generate policy ideas, advocate on behalf of our families and engage voters to vote for our issues and our candidates. We look forward to working with our partners to increase equity of opportunity and political power for Latinas across the state,” said Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina.

“We are very excited that this incredible group of women will continue to collectively address the dire need for increased representation in all levels of elected and appointed office in New Jersey,” adds Laura Matos. “This continued effort and coordinated approach will be fundamental in making tangible change in the demographics of our elected and appointed officials.” 

Increasing numbers of Latinas in civic leadership

As a non-partisan political action committee, Latina Civic PAC’s mission is to increase the number of Latinas in elected and appointed office in the State of New Jersey. The committee promotes and supports progressive leaders who stand up for an agenda that invests in Latina political leadership and advances critical issues that matter to Latinas in New Jersey. The PAC will also continue to distribute tens of thousands of dollars every election cycle to endorsed Latinas throughout the state.

“Many of us have worked for over twenty years to empower Latinas across the state to be civically engaged. Our community represents over 19% of the population in New Jersey, and we look forward to the day that our representation in elected offices is reflective of that number,” said Arlene Quinones Perez, who will serve as General Counsel.

LUPEPAC’s fact sheet reports that there are over 831,000 Latino eligible voters in New Jersey–the seventh largest Hispanic statewide eligible voter population nationally, and 52% of eligible Latino voters in NJ are Latinas.

Additionally, according to the Center for American Women and Politics, Latina representation in New Jersey’s government is as follows: 

NJ driver's licenses, Senator Teresa Ruiz

Senator Teresa Ruiz (L) with Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc. at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo.

Out of 120 seats in the legislature, only 8 Latinas occupy those seats:

Out of 137 County Freeholder seats, only 4 Latinas occupy those seats:

  • Germaine Ortiz (D-Bergen)
  • Carmen Rodriguez (D-Camden)
  • Caridad Rodriguez (D-Hudson)
  • Blanquita Valenti (D-Middlesex)

Out of 65 County Constitutional Officers in NJ, only one Latina serves in those seats: Bernice Toledo (D-Passaic). Out 74 cities with population over 30,000 residents, only one Latina serves as Mayor: Wilda Diaz, Perth Amboy. No Latina from New Jersey has ever served as a U.S. Congresswoman or US Senator.

You might be interested: “I’m tired of waiting”: Latina Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz runs for Mass. Governor 

Latina Civic’s mission will be to increase these numbers through education and training. 

“Educating and training Latinas to be civically engaged will be paramount in all that we do at the Foundation. We will work hard to ensure that Latinas receive the necessary tools to be competitive in New Jersey, which has been a difficult process thus far,” added Andrea Martinez-Mejia.