Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus
The pandemic and its corresponding economic downturn have hit Latino communities hard, and it is the job of the Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus to reflect those stories of struggle in our legislative work. After Governor Jared Polis called for an extraordinary legislative session on November 17, in the midst of Congressional inaction, Colorado legislators stepped up to respond to the needs of Coloradans. We convened for an extraordinary session from November 30 and adjourned two days later, on December 2.
Our goal as the Latino Caucus is to help improve the lives of Latinos across the state and achieve more parity when it comes to providing social and economic safety nets for Latino communities in Colorado.
It is our role as members of the Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus to educate and support our fellow colleagues and decision-makers to understand what is at stake for Latino communities across Colorado who have historically faced systemic inequalities, which have now been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Latinos are 22% of Colorado’s population and 17% of the national population, we consistently face socioeconomic inequalities that outrank both statewide and national averages.
- Latinos account for approximately 33% of Colorado’s COVID-19 cases.
- Between August and September, 20.8% of Latinos nation-wide missed the previous month’s rent payment, merely one month after the CARES relief package expired.
- Nationally, Latinos make up 54% of agricultural workers, 29.7% of food manufacturing workers, 29% of medical assistants, and 20.5% of grocery store workers, all of which are frontline jobs that cannot be done remotely in the safety of one’s home.
- An April study on food insecurity in households across the country suggested that 42% of Latino households with children were food insecure amidst the beginning of the pandemic and widespread lockdowns.
- In Colorado, Latinos have made up about 20% of the unemployment claims in the state. As of August, the national Latino unemployment rate remains high at 12.9%.
- 40% of Latinos in Colorado do not have access to paid sick leave if they are unable to work because of an illness.
- 54% of Latinos do not have access to paid leave if they are unable to work because their employer closes or stops operations due to COVID-19.
- A 2017 national study found that 45% of undocumented immigrants were uninsured.
These facts are but a small indication of the widespread socioeconomic inequalities faced by Latino communities. Our extraordinary session prioritized relief to help Coloradans, with a focus on equity: childcare support, food pantry assistance, small business relief, housing, and rental assistance, etc. Millions of dollars will flow to Coloradans ineligible for other types of assistance. Millions more will flow to minority-owned businesses. Members of the Latino Caucus sponsored legislation, chaired committees, and ran the floor. We worked hard to enact policies that will positively impact the lives of Latinos and all Coloradans.
For more information about the ten bills enacted during the extraordinary session, read here.
Our goal as the Latino Caucus is to help improve the lives of Latinos across the state and achieve more parity when it comes to providing social and economic safety nets for Latino communities in Colorado. We will continue this important work when we return in January 2021 to the Capitol for our regular legislative session
Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus members: State Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutiérrez, State Representative Monica Durán, State Representative Adrienne Benavidez, State Representative Alex Valdez, State Representative Bri Buentello, State Representative Yadira Caraveo, State Representative Sonya Jaquez Lewis, State Representative Donald Valdez, State Representative Kerry Tipper, State Senator Robert Rodríguez, State Senator Julie Gonzales, State Senator Leroy García, State Senator Dominick Moreno.
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