The Latino Caucus is a nonprofit official affiliate of the League of California Cities. Established in 1990, the Latino Caucus brings diversity to Cal Cities, with many of its members serving on Cal Cities Board of Directors. With the fastest growing population in California, the Latino Caucus is charged with bringing the Latino voice to state and local government discussions and decision-making meetings.
The Latino Caucus is dedicated to developing advancement opportunities and promoting progress in the workplace and educational arena by ensuring an equitable allocation of resources, increasing voter registration, and encouraging Latinos to seek public office and take leadership roles in community activities. Learn more by visiting the Latino Caucus website.
The Latino Caucus of the League of California Cities serves as a leader to improve the quality of life, advocate on behalf of the Latino community, and provide, promote, and develop leadership. The Latino Caucus is an effective voice in the development of public policy affecting our cities, constituents, and all of California.
The Caucus serves as a clearinghouse of statewide information key to Latino issues throughout California. Keeping members updated and encouraging local and statewide participation is vital to the continuing success of the Latino community. In carrying out its mission and goals, the Latino Caucus also:
- Publishes a quarterly newsletter providing timely information of issues facing the Latino community.
- Plans and facilitates workshops and forums focusing on issues of economic development, revitalization, housing, and public safety.
- Conducts three regional meetings annually in conjunction with the Mayors and Council Members Executive Forums as well as schedules other meetings open to the public throughout the year.
- Schedules an annual meeting in concurrence with the Cal Cities Annual Conference and Expo.
- Plans and organizes an annual Cinco de Mayo Legislative Day in Sacramento and schedules meetings with state legislators and statewide elected officials.
- Promotes the election of caucus members to the Cal Cities Board of Directors, advisory committees, and special ad-hoc task forces.
- Prepares reports and position papers for Cal Cities and the Legislature on issues important to the vitality of the Latino community.
- Organizes and leads regional legislative advocacy efforts at state and local levels on behalf of the Latino community.
- Seeks to influence and shape public policy outcomes benefiting the Latino community at large by teaming up with the California Association for Local Economic Development, the Local Governments Commission, Hispanas Organized for Political Empowerment, and the California Legislative Latino Caucus and other organizations.
The Latino Caucus Board of Directors sets its advocacy priorities, event programming, and goals in early January. This year, the Caucus reconfirmed their commitment to achieving a California which provides Latinos equal rights, access, opportunities, and outcomes. "We stand ready to work collaboratively with the state and federal governments and other stakeholders to seek long-term solutions to systemic inequities. The Latino Caucus is committed to be an ally and will stand in solidarity with those whose aim is to advance justice, dignity, and equality for all Californians." The following priorities have been adopted for 2021:
COVID-19 Protections and Recovery
- Medical- Ensure the implementation of an equity-centered approach for Covid-19 testing and vaccines which reduces participation barriers for Latinos; language barriers, hours of operation barriers, cost/insurance barriers, and barriers created by misinformation about the safety of the vaccine.
- Housing- Extend, improve, and enforce the eviction moratorium on foreclosures and evictions to help struggling renters and homeowners stay in their homes.
- Housing- Provide additional funds in emergency rent and utility assistance to low-income renters.
- Education- Advocate for Latino students/families struggling with student learning loss, access to technology (computer and wi-fi access), digital literacy, and access to the multilingual resources necessary for successful distance learning.
- Education- Advocate for Latino college students, including DACA students, struggling with access to technology, food insecurity, housing loss, job loss, physical and mental health issues exacerbated by the pandemic.
- Education- Advocate for solutions, resources, and the outreach necessary for Latino college student retention.
- Economy/Jobs- Provide supports for all unemployed workers and their families, regardless of immigration status, and equitable access to aid for Latino small business owners and community-based nonprofits for the duration of the pandemic related economic downturn.
- Essential Workers- Advocate for adequate safety and enforcement protections, compensation, and worker supports, including access to healthcare, childcare, protections from deportation and paid family leave so sick workers can afford to stay home, take care of their families, and minimize the long-term economic effects of the pandemic.
- Essential Workers- Advocate for the right of naturalization, including retroactively, to all farmworkers and other essential workers working in the United States during the COVID-19 crisis and provide employers immunity from adverse action for employing those essential workers, if they were undocumented.
- Promote immigration reform legislation that includes: an earned path to citizenship, family reunification, the Dream Act, a path to Lawful Permanent Resident status for long-time recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and similar programs, greater discretion to immigration authorities to prevent deportation in certain types of cases, and stronger protections against exploitation for immigrant workers, including undocumented farmworkers.
- Advocate for sweeping reforms related to detention facilities, including the prevention of detainee abuse, greater access to counsel, ending the mandated bed quota and contracts with for-profit detention service providers, and replacing detention facilities for women, children, and other vulnerable populations with alternatives to detention.
- Advocate for the equitable distribution of state and federal financial support, the reduction of regulatory barriers, and support additional incentives and local financial tools to address housing affordability.
- Promote efforts to increase the availability of affordable housing (including housing for farm workers) throughout California.
- Advocate for increased funding and resources to prevent homelessness and assist individuals experiencing homelessness.
- Advocate to close the Latina gender pay gap and increase Latina economic security by promoting equal pay, increases the minimum wage, prohibit sex-based discrimination, and guarantees paid sick and family leave.
Secretary and Parliamentary - Veronica Vargas
Immediate Past President - Daniel Parra
Annual Legislative Day
Held in late spring in Sacramento, the Annual Legislative Day provides members the unique opportunity to meet legislators and discuss areas of great importance and issues of concern. The annual Legislative Day agenda includes legislative updates provided by leaders of the California State Senate and California State Assembly on legislation and budget items; educational and informative sessions with representatives from the League of California Cities and prominent business leaders from around the state; and concludes with a Capitol reception, where Latino Caucus members can meet Legislators in a relaxed and more personal setting.
Workshops and Forums
Each year, the Latino Caucus sponsors several workshops and forums that inform and educate members about important issues of the day, while providing valuable networking and information sharing opportunities on a statewide basis. These workshops and forums highlight and draw attention to issues or concerns important to Latino communities.
Leadership, Training, and Education
The Latino Caucus provides members with growth, leadership, and educational opportunities through a series of focused events and activities. Special event topics in the past have included information regarding Fair Political Practices Commission reporting requirements, how to develop support in achieving high-level elected offices, and a thorough introduction of the legislative budget, bill, and regulatory processes. The Latino Caucus also works with local elected officials, mayors and city council members, and a myriad of national, statewide, and community-based organizations to develop youth-orientated programs to better prepare the next generation of Latino leaders in California.
Membership in the Latino Caucus of the League of California Cities offers several valuable benefits. Members receive the Latino Caucus quarterly newsletter, which offers up-to-date information on emerging issues, a calendar of events, and legislative news. Members receive invitations to all special events, issues and forums, and conferences. To join, please fill out a membership form.