Jul 26, 2022 - World

Percentage of Latina state lawmakers jumps to record levels

New Mexico state Rep. Andrea Romero greets other lawmakers in the New Mexico Statehouse.

Democratic New Mexico State Rep. Andrea Romero. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios

The percentage of Latina state lawmakers nationwide has skyrocketed from low single digits to more than 40% of all Hispanic state legislators, according to the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators tells Russell.

Why it matters: The growth reflects Latinas' emerging political power — and those are positions that could lead to bigger political office.

By the numbers: Of 7,383 state legislators in the United States, 2,259 (or 31%) are women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

  • Of the 451 Hispanic state legislators, 195 are women — 43% — the most recent data found. Those are record-breaking numbers.
  • Nine of the 10 Hispanic New Jersey legislators are women.

What they're saying: "Latinas are badass, and I think that we just have finally decided we need to pull together to make sure issues important to us are being addressed," New Mexico State Rep. Doreen Y. Gallegos told Axios.

  • Gallegos said in the past, Latinas may have felt they needed permission to run for office or they didn't have support from the home. "Women are breaking from that mold and saying, 'no, I have the education to do this'."
  • Gallegos, a Democrat, is seeking to become New Mexico's first Latina House Majority Leader next year.

The big picture: The vast majority of Latino and Latina state lawmakers are Democrats, NHCSL executive director Kenneth Romero-Cruz told Axios.

  • In 2002, around 30% of all Latino state lawmakers were Republican.
  • Today, only 13% of all Latino state lawmakers are Republican, Romero-Cruz said.

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