How Latinas Fared in the 2012 Election

Latinos made history on November 6,2012 when they comprised 10 percent of the total national electorate according to the Pew Hispanic Center.  In California there are more than 14.4 million Latinos, the nation’s largest population of Latinos, making up 32 percent of the adult population. However, Latinos account for only 20 percent of registered voters. All year civic organizations, candidates, and political parties have been working tirelessly to register, inform, and ensure Latinos turnout at the polls; the turnout of the Latino voter base has been credited with being a deciding factor in the outcomes of the November election.

Below is a snapshot of how Latina candidates fared in California:

The California State Senate and Assembly

Latina representation has fallen short since the early 2000’s when there were 6 Latinas in the State Senate and 6 Latinas in the State Assembly. Last year there was only one Latina Senator and two Latina Assembly members. There is still a lot of work to be done to diversify the California State Legislature. In1994 the first Latina was elected to the California State Senate, there will be no representation in 2013. No Latinas ran for a State Senate seat in 2012.

Latina representation in the State Assembly grew from 2 seats, occupied by Nora Campos and Norma Torres both of whom were re-elected, to 5 with the elections of Cristina Garcia (Dist. 58), Sharon Quirk-Silva (Dist. 65) and Susan Talamantes Eggman (Dist. 13). We congratulate these women for their amazing accomplishments.

The California Congressional Delegation

The U.S Congressional delegation gained a Latina member, Gloria Negrete McLeod who will represent the 35thdistrict. We congratulate her for being one more California Latina in Congress. Other Latinas that were re-elected were U.S Representatives Grace Napolitano, Linda Sanchez, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Loretta Sanchez.

We would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the women of the HOPE Leadership Institute for taking leadership to action and running for elected office in 2012. Below is apartial list of HLI Alumnae who are making change happen in their communities:

June 2012

Leticia Vasquez, HLI Class of 2002, was elected to the Central Basin Municipal Water District Div. 4.

Celina Vazquez, HLI Class of 2002, was elected to a two-year term as Committeewoman for Senate District 9 for the Texas Democratic Party.

November 2012

Frances Ortiz-Chavez, HLI Class of 2003, was elected to the Napa Valley Unified School District Board (NVUSD)(she was unopposed). 

Rosie Torres, HLI Class of 2009, won a seat in the Oakland School Board representing District 5.

Carmen Avalos, HLI Class of 2008, won a seat on the Cerritos Community College Board of Trustees representing Trustee Area 2.

Marisa Perez, HLI Class of 2003, won a seat on the Cerritos Community College Board of Trustees representing Trustee Area 4.

Sandra Salazar, HLI Class of 2009, won a seat on the Cerritos Community College Board of Trustees representing Trustee Area 6.

Olga Diaz, HLI Class of 2009, was re-elected as Councilmember for Escondido City Council.

Pearl Quinones, HLI Class of 2003, was re-elected to the Sweetwater School Board.

Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, HLI Class of 2011, was re-elected to the National City Council.  


We would like to give a special thank you to the HLI women who fought a tough battle to serve their communities. We thank you for your commitment to public service.

Virginia Madueno, HLI Class of 2002, ran for Mayor of Riverbank, California.

Danitza Pantoja, HLI Class of 2005, ran for San Fernando City Council.

 We also want to congratulate Marissa Bejarano, HOPE Board Member, for her seat in the Chula Vista Elementary School Board.

Please post on Facebook your views and thoughts on how Latinas fared this election cycle along with any updates of Latinas running for office in California as we work to collect additional information and project a true profile of the Latina elected official. As an organization committed to Latina leadership we acknowledge all the courageous women that ran for office this year. We make note of all the work that is still left to be done to achieve true political equity.


*HOPE is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse or fund candidates. The information listed above is for informational purposes only.

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