The Founding of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

On December 8, 1976, Representatives Badillo, González, de la Garza, and Roybal and Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner-elect Baltasar Corrada-del Río announced the formation of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC).241 While several of the founding Members had served in Congress since the 1960s, they had not formed a group to focus on issues that were important to Hispanic Americans. Since 1971, Badillo had urged the creation of a Hispanic Caucus to foster greater unity among the Hispanic Members.242 The founders of the CHC stated that their mission was “to develop programs … to increase opportunities for Hispanics to participate in and contribute to the American political system” and to “reverse the national pattern of neglect, exclusion and indifference suffered for decades by Spanish-speaking citizens of the U.S.”243 “The fact that we have joined together is a sign of the growing power of our community, and we are looking forward to strengthening the Federal commitment to Hispanic citizens,” the caucus declared.244 Roybal was the CHC’s first chairman. For reasons that were not specified, Representative Luján and outgoing Resident Commissioner Benítez, as well as Delegate de Lugo, did not join the caucus.

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241John A. Garcia, “Congressional Hispanic Caucus,” in Oboler and González, eds., The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States, vol. 1: 396.

242Maurilio E. Vigil, “The Congressional Hispanic Caucus: Illusions and Realities of Power,” Journal of Hispanic Policy 4 (1989–1990): 19.

243Vigil, “The Congressional Hispanic Caucus”: 23.

244David Vidal, “Congressional Caucus Is Formed to Speak for Hispanic Population,” 9 December 1976, New York Times: 32.