Latino Victory Fund Announces New York and New Jersey Candidate Slate

Washington, D.C.—Latino Victory Fund, the most influential national organization working to strengthen Latino representation and help mobilize Latino voters ahead of the presidential election, announced today the endorsement of three congressional candidates under its “Our Champions” program, as well as six candidates for New York State Assembly and Senate.

This new round of endorsements complements the organization’s already robust slate of federal, state, and local candidates nationally, including individuals in key swing states, where the Latino vote can make a difference for a democratic victory in November.

“Our Champions” is a program that focuses on preserving the progress made by the organization in helping to elect Latino members of Congress across the country.  Additionally, it is a public pledge to help re-elect these members by investing resources, recruiting volunteers, and educating and mobilizing voters in key districts. The three members announced today are Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), and Rob Menendez (NJ-08).  They join representatives Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Mike Levin (CA-49), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Andrea Salinas (OR-06) and Gabe Vasquez (NM-02), who were endorsed earlier this year under this program.

“We are proud to support ‘Our Champions’ for re-election because they don’t just represent districts – they represent communities – and they will energize the Latino electorate this critical year,” said Sindy Benavides, President and CEO of the Latino Victory Fund

The organization also endorsed New York State Senators Nathalia Fernandez and Kristen Gonzalez; New York State Assembly Members Jessica González-Rojas, Catalina Cruz, and Jonathan “Jon” Rivera; and candidate Yvette Valdés Smith. Latino Victory released the following statements in support of the endorsed candidates:

Statement on Nydia Velazquez by Sindy M. Benavides, Latino Victory Fund President & CEO: 

“Nydia Velazquez is a pioneer, as the first Latina appointed to the New York City Council in 1984 and the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the United States Congress in 1992. Throughout her life and career, Congresswoman Velazquez has been a champion for the underserved and underrepresented.  Her commitment to addressing the systemic inequities in housing, health, climate, voting, and social justice, has earned her the support of her constituents time and again.  Congresswoman Velazquez’s continued efforts to work with colleagues to address the broken immigration system in this country, providing a strong voice in support of the people of Puerto Rico and her work to end hate in all its forms, have earned Latino Victory’s support.  We are proud to endorse Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez for reelection.”

Statement on Adriano Espaillat by Sindy M. Benavides, Latino Victory Fund President & CEO: 

“Latino Victory enthusiastically endorses Congressman Adriano Espaillat for reelection in New York’s 13th District. A steadfast champion for working- and middle-class New Yorkers, Congressman Espaillat has fought fearlessly for a fair living wage, immediate and effective investments in affordable housing, meaningful criminal justice reform and infrastructure improvements, expanded youth programs, and better educational opportunities for all. He broke barriers for Latinos in elected office when he became the first Dominican-American elected to Congress and the first formerly undocumented immigrant in 2016, after tenures in both the New York State Assembly and Senate. His experience and dedication have provided steadfast representation in Congress – and the leadership we need to continue the fight for a better future for our families and communities.”

Statement on Rob Menendez, Jr. by Sindy M. Benavides, Latino Victory Fund President & CEO: 

“Congressman Rob Menendez has demonstrated his commitment to working families in his district. He has championed legislation supporting organized labor, prioritizing future-forward infrastructure, addressing climate change, protecting reproductive choice, and creating a high quality of life for all. He serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he has advocated for greater access to mass transit for all 8th District residents via the development of the Gateway Program, the most important infrastructure project in the country, for which he helped secure $6.9 billion from the U.S. Department of Transportation – the largest-ever mass transit grant in American history. He has consistently fought Republicans’ hard-right narrative and advocated for the most vulnerable among us, which is why Latino Victory is proud to endorse him.”

Statement on Nathalia Fernandez by Sindy M. Benavides, Latino Victory Fund President & CEO: 

“Nathalia Fernandez is a daughter of immigrants, currently serving as the State Senator for the 34th District with passion and dedication to make her beloved Bronx a better place to live, work, and raise a family.  Through her leadership, the New York State legislature passed incentives to boost investment in small businesses and help grow minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs), address toxic emission standards, and forge ahead on harm reduction policies for those experiencing addiction.  We know that when reelected, Senator Fernandez will continue to be a fierce advocate for our communities.  Latino Victory is proud to endorse her.”

Statement on Kristen Gonzalez by Sindy M. Benavides, Latino Victory Fund President & CEO: 

“As the proud daughter of immigrants, a former tech worker, and the youngest woman ever elected to the New York State Senate, Kristen Gonzalez brings energy and grit to her work in the legislature.  As Chair of the Internet and Technology Committee, she passed laws protecting New York State’s critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks and helped safeguard the right to an abortion by protecting private health data. Gonzalez is running for re-election to give everyone in New York State the opportunity to a dignified life, including a clean environment, affordable housing, a good quality education, and universal access to healthcare. She will fight to make these a right, not an option – and Latino Victory is proud to endorse her.”

Statement on Jessica González-Rojas by Sindy M. Benavides, Latino Victory Fund President & CEO: 

“Jessica González-Rojas is a lifelong activist and change-maker. She is a nationally recognized expert on healthcare reform,  gender, and racial justice, and she deeply understands building coalitions at both the grassroots level and within institutions of power. González-Rojas understands that the strength of the community is in its diversity, and holds an unwavering commitment to progressive values, which will continue to make her an effective leader on some of the most important issues affecting our communities, including the need for affordable housing and increased access to higher education.  Latino Victory is proud to endorse Assembly Member González-Rojas for reelection.

Statement on Catalina Cruz by Sindy M. Benavides, Latino Victory Fund President & CEO: 

“Catalina Cruz is a trailblazer who has drawn strength from her life experiences, growing up as a DREAMer in a single-parent household and becoming a respected attorney and advocate for her community. As an assembly member, she is a leading force in the fight for tenant protections, and immigrant and workers’ rights. Since taking office, she has passed more than twenty new laws to combat food insecurity, curtail the high cost of healthcare, and protect aging New Yorkers. She led the charge to pass Clean Slate and Rape is Rape legislation, in addition to the Wage Theft Accountability Act, ground breaking initiatives that provide relief to New Yorkers with a second chance at life and access to justice.  Latino Victory is proud to endorse Assembly Member Cruz for reelection.”

Statement on Jon Rivera by Sindy M. Benavides, Latino Victory Fund President & CEO: 

“Jon Rivera is a lifelong resident of the West Side of Buffalo who learned the value of public service from a young age, as the son of a police officer and a teacher. Throughout his life and career, he has worked hard to improve the lives of his neighbors by addressing the high prevalence of lead toxicity across homes in West New York to reduce inequities and give families a fair shot at success. When reelected, Assembly Member Rivera will continue efforts to bring economic prosperity, a bigger tax base, cultural diversity, and neighborhood stabilization to Buffalo.  Latino Victory is proud to endorse him.

Statement on Yvette Valdés Smith by Sindy M. Benavides, Latino Victory Fund President & CEO: 

“Yvette Valdés Smith is running for New York State Senate to be a strong voice and deliver real results for the Hudson Valley and the communities she has dedicated her life to serving.  Born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico by her mother, a school teacher, and her father, a small business owner, Valdés Smith learned early on the value of service, becoming a public school teacher and proud union member. As the minority leader in the Dutchess County Legislature, she has fought tirelessly and successfully to make life more affordable for residents by lowering taxes and protecting our environment for future generations. She is committed to continuing this work in Albany, where she will defend women’s reproductive rights, work to end gun violence, and bring much-needed funding into our school districts. She will deliver for our communities in the Hudson Valley and Latino Victory is proud to endorse her.


The Latino Victory Fund is a progressive political action committee with the mission of growing Latino political power by increasing Latino representation at every level of government—from the county board to the Senate to the White House.

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