Latinos are running for office this 2012 election year, some of whom are seeking office for the first time.
A new crop of Latinos are putting their name on a list of individuals who are seeking a seat in Colorado’s state legislature.
Jessie Ulibarri is a first time candidate running for Senate District 21. “This is the home where I am raising my two kids.” This, Ulibarri said, is “really home for me. I feel that I know the area really well.”
Ulibarri who garnered the Democratic nomination, said, “I’ve worked side by side with people in the community,” he said referring to his work with nonprofits and also in the governmental and business sectors.
Ulibarri, the first person in his family to attend college and with deep rooted family ties to Colorado, said “I think I have a really good sense of the issues because I lived it and it’s not something you can replicate.”
Joe Salazar from Thornton is also seeking office. He is running for State House District 31. “I decided to run for office because of what the Republicans tried to do last year in a sneaky way to get rid of free and reduced lunches for children who qualify,” Salazar noted frankly.
Salazar hopes to translate his passion for his community to a legislature seat. “I’m a civil rights attorney,” Salazar noted, “For the past 18 years I’ve basically been fighting for community rights.” Salazar spoke about working with several organizations including Escuela Tlatelolco and co-founding the Colorado Latino Forum. “I’m not going to talk about the things that I am going to do, I can actually point to the things that I’ve done.”
One of the things he wants to focus on, if elected, is finding revenue for K-12 schools. “I think the legislature needs to explore every avenue possible for helping out our kids.”
A fundraising event in honor of his campaign will be held on Friday, April 27 from 5-7 p.m. at Sushi Hai, 3600 W. 32nd Ave. To RSVP, call 303-335-7939.
Commerce City’s Dominick Moreno is also seeking election, running for House District 32. He made Commerce City history in 2009 when he was elected the city’s youngest councilmember. Currently, he is mayor pro tem.
“I have a lot to offer at the state level,” Moreno said about his candidacy. “I think I can be an effective voice for my community at the state level.”
Moreno, who was born and raised in Commerce City, spoke about receiving scholarships and having the opportunity to attended Georgetown University. But he emphasized returning back home and “putting my education here … in the community where I was raised.”
“I have real good experience to be an effective voice in the state house,” he said.
The list of Latinos running for office is ever increasing. Not only will new faces be on the ballot, depending on your Senate/House district, but some familiar faces will also seek re-election, if not term limited.
Thornton councilmember Val Vigil expressed that more Latinos should put themselves in a position to run for office. “I wish we could have more Latinos to run for office. I don’t think the representation in the state is truly representative,” Vigil said. He also suggested that more Latinos, like 20 or so, should decide to run for office.
Vigil, expressed his enthusiasm for Ulibarri, Salazar and Moreno’s campaigns. “I am really excited, he said. “They are really sharp individuals.”
“It’s very personal for us,” Moreno said about his fellow Latinos running for office. “There’s really no question that we know what the issues are — we know what needs to be done at the state level.”
“For the first time in the history of Adams County there are three viable Latino candidates running for state legislature,” Salazar said referencing Ulibarri, Moreno and himself. “This is a moment for the community to understand that we have a voice.”