September 27, 2002

Hispanic Heritage Month Latino Victory Forum, Democrats Working Together to Elect A Record Number of Hispanics to Congress

WASHINGTON, DC - The Democratic Party’s recipe for success - recruitment of a record number of Hispanic candidates, an aggressive voter turnout program, and a solid commitment to Democratic values like strengthening our families - were the central themes of today’s Latino Victory Forum 2002. The forum, to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, was sponsored by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee, and BOLD-PAC - the political arm of Hispanic Democrats in Congress.

“I feel so confident about our chances to take back the House because of the high caliber of our candidates. Never before have there been so many Hispanic candidates running for Congress,” said Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “In true Democratic fashion, our Hispanic candidates will represent districts that are urban and rural, majority-Hispanic and non-majority Hispanic. From Florida to Kansas, Texas to California and throughout the Southwest, we have Hispanic candidates that are at the frontlines in our battle to Take Back the House.”

Democratic Caucus Vice Chair, Bob Menendez (D-NJ), told reporters at the press conference that the Republicans failed leadership record on issues critical to Hispanic voters will be a determining factor in the fall elections.

“The Republican Party has talked a lot about its efforts to gain the votes of the Hispanic community,” said Menendez. “But the scorecard released by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda last month (8/14/02) made it crystal clear that the Republican Party remembers the Hispanic community only around election time. When it comes to governing, Republicans think of Latinos only as political pawns, not as active participants.”

“As a community, we need to make sure that our voices are heard, said BOLD-PAC Chairman Joe Baca. “The way to do that is by going to the polls in record numbers on November 5th and electing a new House Leadership that will be more responsive to the Hispanic community. My colleagues in the Hispanic Caucus and I will continue to spread the word that a victory for Latino candidates and a Democratic majority in November will be a win for the entire Latino community.”

“Our candidates are running on Democratic issues that are vital to the Hispanic community - job creation, equal access to education, access to health care, and keeping people’s hard earned money out of the hands of corporations. These are issues that Members of the Hispanic Caucus and House Democrats fights for year round,” said Lowey.

There are 18 Hispanic Democrats in the House. With a majority of primaries completed, 11 Hispanic democratic candidates emerged to run for Congress. A Democratic House majority will deliver the first Hispanic female Committee Chair and five Subcommittee Chairs. Over 90% of Hispanic elected officials nationwide are Democrats.

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