Latinas in Elective Office

Unlike the U.S. Census, CAWP has included Latina as a primary racial/ethnic category in requests for self-identification. This means that while some officeholders might select white as race and Hispanic for ethnicity when asked as separate questions, they are asked by CAWP to report any race or ethnicity (one or more) with which they identify (options include white and Latina). For more information on CAWP’s historic and current collection of race/ethnicity data, please see our methodological statement. For more information on historical milestones in women’s political representation, please see CAWP’s “Milestones for Women in American Politics.”

Women who self-identify as more than one race/ethnicity are included on CAWP pages for each group with which they identify. We strongly caution against adding totals from each racial/ethnic group should, as it will double count officeholders. To conduct more detailed calculations, users should refer to CAWP’s Women Elected Officials Database or contact CAWP staff directly.

Latinas are 9.1% of the total U.S. population and 18% of the U.S. population of women, according to the U.S. Census. Using these data to compare to percentages reported on this page should account for differences between U.S. Census and CAWP categorizations.

Federal Elective Executive

Current Officeholders
0
Historic Officeholders
0
Current Congress
14
(11D, 3R)

2.6% of all voting members of Congress identify as Latina.

9.7% of all women voting members of Congress identify as Latina.

 

U.S. Senate
1
(1D)
U.S. House
13
(10D, 3R)
U.S. Delegate
1
(1R)

U.S. Delegates are non-voting members and are not included in our total counts.

Historic Congress
21
(17D, 4R)

0.2% of all members of Congress to date have identified as Latina.

5.4% of all women who have served in Congress to date have identified as Latina.

U.S. Senate
1
(1D)
U.S. House
20
(16D, 4R)
U.S. Delegate
1
(1R)

U.S. Delegates are non-voting members and are not included in our total counts.

Notable Firsts/Facts

  • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) was the Latina to serve in the U.S. Congress, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989 to 2019. 
  • Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) were the first Democratic Latinas to serve in the U.S. Congress, both serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to present.
  • Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) was the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Senate, serving from 2017 to present.
Current Statewide Elective Executive
9
(7D, 2R)

2.9% of all statewide elective executives identify as Latina.

9.5% of all women statewide elective executives identify as Latina.

Historic Statewide Elective Executive
26
(20D, 5R, 1NP)

4.5% of all women statewide elective executives to date have identified as Latina.

Governor
2
(1D, 1R)

Notable Firsts/Facts

  • Soledad Chacón (D-NM) was the first Latina to serve in statewide elective executive office, serving as New Mexico’s Secretary of State from 1923 to 1926. 
  • Dianna Duran (R-NM) was the first Republican Latina to serve in statewide elective executive office, serving as New Mexico’s Secretary of State from 2011 to 2015. 
  • Susana Martinez (R-NM) was the first Latina to serve as governor in the United States, serving as New Mexico’s governor from 2011 to 2019.
  • Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) is the first Latina to serve as governor in the United States, serving as New Mexico’s governor from 2019 to present.
  • More than 50% (14 of 25) of all of the Latinas to serve in statewide elective executive office to date have served in New Mexico. New Mexico was also the first state to elect a Latina to statewide elective office, the first state to elect a Latina governor, the first state to elect a Latina to the state legislature, and the first state in which one Latina succeeded another as governor.
Current State Legislature
153
(138D, 14R, 1Ind)

2.1% of all state legislators identify as Latina.

6.6% of all women state legislators identify as Latina.

State Senate
46
(41D, 5R)
State House/Assembly
107
(97D, 9R, 1Ind)

Notable Firsts/Facts

  • Fedelina Lucero Gallegos (R-NM) and Porfirria Hidalgo Saiz (D-NM) were the first Latinas to serve in state legislative office, both serving from 1931 to 1932.
  • Crisanta Duran (D-CO) was the first Latina to lead either house of a state legislature; she served as Colorado’s Speaker of the House from 2017 to 2019.  

Mayors – Top 100 Most Populous Cities

Current Mayors
3
(2D, 1I)

3% of all mayors in top 100 most populous cities identify as Latina.

9.7% of all women mayors in top 100 most populous cities identify as Latina.

Historic Mayors
5
(4D, 1I)
Name Party City, State Years Served
Paulette M. Guajardo* I Corpus Christi, TX 2021-present
Regina Romero D Tucson, AZ 2019-present
Mary Casillas Salas* D Chula Vista, CA 2015-present
Nelda Martinez* D Corpus Christi, TX 2012-2016
Heather Fargo* D Sacramento, CA 2001-2009

*Elected in nonpartisan races.