January 12, 2001
As Representative Ron Packard planned his retirement after 18 years in Congress, he wanted to send a final nod of support to California State University San Marcos. Packard's efforts resulted in a $553,000 federal appropriation for Cal State San Marcos' National Latino Research Center (NLRC) as part of the 2001-2002 budget passed by the 106th Congress before it adjourned in December. The funding will aid the Center's operations in its early years until it becomes self-supporting through contracts and grants.
NLRC Executive Director Fernando Soriano says the funding will help NLRC researchers to continue extensive studies on the Latino population and provide substantive, documented research on the Latino population and "dispel the myth of homogeneity" within the Latino community. The Center, founded in 1997, moved to the Cal State San Marcos campus in 1999. According to Soriano, the new funding will enable the Center to add staff for field research in Latino populations.
The NLRC received more than $1.2 million in research funding in 2000. The Center has a national scope that addresses all Latino subgroups, including Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans. The Center is committed to areas such as health, mental health, education, social issues, housing, labor and employment, and immigration.
Packard, a former Oceanside dentist and Carlsbad mayor, represented the 48th District for 18 years, after launching a write-in campaign in 1982. He is only the fourth person in the nation's history to win a seat through a write-in. Packard was CSUSM's "founding congressman" until redistricting after the 1990 census. He continued to represent approximately 20 percent of CSUSM students in the 28th congressional district, which runs from Carlsbad to San Clemente to Temecula.