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Somos El Futuro and Hispanic Representation in Albany
May 1st, 2006

This past weekend, the 19th annual Somos El Futuro conference took place in Albany, bringing nearly 9,000 political, community, business and labor leaders together for three days. The three-day event “Celebrating Arts” included panels on topics such as immigration reform, education, and voting, as well as karaoke events. Gubernatorial candidates Eliot Spitzer and Thomas Suozzi were in attendance while sitting Governor George Pataki was in New Hampshire thinking of his own futuro.

Somos El Futuro is the nonprofit extension of the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force. The 51-member taskforce is made up of Assembly representatives whose districts have 20% or more Hispanic constituents in their districts. The NYS Senate has a similar body as well.

Despite demographic shifts, minority representation at the statewide level is lacking and entry into the middle class is lagging. The New York City Hispanic population is growing at nearly three times the rate of the city’s overall growth and make up an ever-increasing constituency in the state. Though the Hispanic candidate for New York City mayor, Freddy Ferrar, lost, “Miguel” Bloomberg, as his campaign literature called him, was able to win support from many Hispanic voters.

In 1966, the now titled “Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus” formed as a “political alliance that has consistently given all minorities, middle-class, the poor, and working people a real voice in state government.” According to the website’s roster, the caucus currently has 43 Senate and Assembly members, as well as a vacant vice chair position.

Recently, this body weighed in on everybody’s favorite budget negotiations with a report especially critical of reductions in aid for education and services for the elderly and working families, as well as zealous tax cuts.

By on May 1, 2006, 7:00 am
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