New Latinos Sworn Into Congress Break Historic Barriers


For the first time in history, a Dominican-American will sit in Congress, a Puerto Rican will join the House of Representatives, and a Latina woman will serve in the U.S. Senate.

According to NBC News, Latinos celebrated these historic firsts as the new Congress was sworn in on January 3.

There are now a total of seven Democratic Latinos in Congress and with the addition of these three individuals, historic barriers were broken.

“We’ve had a record Hispanic turnout in many key states, inducing in Florida and Nevada and California,” said Darren Soto, who became the first Florida-based Puerto Rican to be in the House. “I believe people wanted more Hispanic voices in Congress.”

Adriano Espaillat and Catherine Cortez Masto were the other two political figures who made history this election season.

Espaillat, representing the New York district, was greeted by 18 buses full of supporters waving Dominican flags and changing, “Espaillat que vamos,” which is a play on the phrase, “Es p’allá que vamos,” translating to “this is where we’re going.”

Espaillat will also be the first member of Congress to represent both the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Cortez Masto, of Nevada, was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden as her husband, Paul Masto, held the Bible in the on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

“It’s about time,” said Cortez Masto. “I have always said it’s important to have diversity in the United States Senate. I look forward to using my voice.”

The Las Vegas Sun reports that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will be passing on the Nevada duties to Cortez Masto. Her mother, Joanna Cortez, could not have been more proud.

“It’s the most amazing day of our lives. I’ve waited a long time for this. I’m not disappointed,” said Joanna Cortez. “It’s always a wish a parent has for her children, although I never thought I’d be around to see it.”

The U.S. Senate is composed of 100 members (two from each state) and thanks to the 17th Amendment in the Constitution, has always been elected by the American people.

Latina states that with the addition to the seven new Latinos, there are now 38 members of Hispanic descent holding congressional seats.

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