Latino Caucus Statement on Support for Puerto Rico following Hurricane Fiona Devastation

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus issued the following statement in response to the devastating situation unfolding in Puerto Rico, following the landfall of Hurricane Fiona: 

“The Latino Caucus stands in solidarity with the Puerto Rican community that, as we remember the 5th year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, must also face another crisis in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. We are keeping the people of Puerto Rico and their families stateside in our prayers as they recover from the aftermath of another destructive storm. 

“The Caucus remember the victims of Hurricane Maria and their families. It remembers those displaced by the Hurricane and who found in Illinois a safe and welcoming home. It remembers the actions of the Puerto Rican Agenda and the Puerto Rican community in Illinois as a whole who fought for and delivered crucial aid.

“As was the case in 2017, many if not all Puerto Rican residents are left without electricity, supplies, and critical infrastructure to manage the ever-present danger of tropical storms and hurricanes. While the situation remains dire, we are encouraged by the swift action of President Biden to issue an emergency declaration to send aid and supplies for the citizens in Puerto Rico.”

“We encourage all if able to lend support to organizations that will work with Puerto Ricans on the ground to rebuild their communities. The Puerto Rican Cultural Center, PRxPR, and the Hispanic Federation are great opportunities to lend a helping hand.” 

State Rep. Aarón Ortíz elected House Chair of the Illinois Latinx Caucus

February 8th, 2021

CHICAGO –Newly appointed Democratic Caucus Whip and 1st District State Rep. Aarón Ortíz, D-Chicago, was unanimously elected as the new House Chair of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus (ILLC). Historic achievements on behalf of the Latinx communities in Chicago and a growing reputation as a coalition builder with other caucuses in Springfield, Rep. Ortíz is indicative of the new generation of Latinx leaders all across the State of Illinois.

“I’m honored to have been elected by my colleagues to lead our Latino Caucus. As the son of immigrants and State Representative of one of the most Latinx districts in the State of Illinois, I understand the importance of representation. My call to service was to empower and advocate for my community, and that’s what I intend to carry out in my added capacity. Latinx communities make up about 33% of the population in Illinois, but only 9 out of 118 (8%) members of the Illinois House of Representatives are Latinx.”

Ortiz has set out his top six priorities for the Caucus which include:

  1. Promote a comprehensive legislative agenda that is inclusive of the diverse needs of our districts
  2. Solidify strong relationships built on trust with other legislative caucuses in Illinois
  3. Support and empower the work of Caucus members in Springfield and in their communities
  4. Work towards a budget that is inclusive of institutions that serve the Latinx community
  5. Approve a map that honors the Voting Rights Act -maximizes representation of communities of color
  6. Establish a robust constituent program to make State services more accessible to Latinx constituents

“Since 2002 the ILLC has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the more than 2+ Million Latinx residents living in Illinois. Our caucus has worked together to lead important projects and achieve many legislative victories on behalf of the immigrant and Latinx communities across the State. It is imperative that Illinois continue leading the way for other states with regard to the rights of immigrants and other issues of vital importance to the growing Latinx population in Illinois. I look forward to working alongside Co-Chairs Senator Castro and Senator Villa, as well as the Chairs of other caucuses to ensure that we improve the lives of working families all across the State.”


El representante estatal Aarón Ortíz elegido presidente de la Cámara de Representantes del Caucus Latino de Illinois

8 de febrero de 2021

CHICAGO – Recién nombrado Líder del Caucus Demócrata y Representante Estatal del 1er Distrito, Aarón Ortíz, D-Chicago, fue elegido como el nuevo Presidente del Caucus Legislativo Latino de Illinois (ILLC) de la Cámara de Representantes. Los logros históricos en nombre de las comunidades latinas en Chicago y una trayectoria como constructor de coaliciones con otros miembros en Springfield, Rep. Ortíz, son indicativos de la nueva generación de líderes latinos en todo el estado de Illinois.

“Me siento honrado de haber sido elegido por mis compañeros para dirigir nuestro Caucus Latino. Como hijo de inmigrantes y Representante Estatal de uno de los distritos más latinos del Estado de Illinois, entiendo la importancia de la representación. Mi llamado a El servicio fue empoderar y defender a mi comunidad, y eso es lo que tengo la intención de llevar a cabo en mi capacidad adicional. Las comunidades latinas constituyen aproximadamente el 33% de la población en Illinois, pero solo 9 de 118 (8%) miembros de la Camara de Representantes son  de origen latino.”

Ortiz ha establecido sus seis prioridades para el Caucus, que incluyen:

  1. Promover una agenda legislativa integral que incluya las diversas necesidades de nuestros distritos.
  2. Solidificar relaciones sólidas basadas en la confianza con otros caucus legislativos en Illinois
  3. Apoyar y empoderar el trabajo de los miembros del Caucus en Springfield y en sus comunidades.
  4. Trabajar hacia un presupuesto que incluya a las instituciones que sirven a la comunidad Latina
  5. Aprobar un mapa que respete la Ley de Derechos Electorales: maximiza la representación de las comunidades de color
  6. Establecer un programa de constituyentes para hacer que los servicios estatales sean más accesibles para los electores latinos

“Desde el 2002, ILLC ha trabajado para mejorar las vidas de los más de 2 millones de residentes latinos que viven en Illinois. Nuestro grupo ha trabajado en conjunto para liderar proyectos importantes y lograr muchas victorias legislativas en nombre de las comunidades de inmigrantes y latina en todo el estado. Es imperativo que Illinois continúe liderando el camino para otros estados con respecto a los derechos de los inmigrantes y otros asuntos de vital importancia para la creciente población latina en Illinois y todo Estados Unidos. Espero trabajar junto a las presidentas del Caucus Latino del Senado, Cristina Castro y Karina Villa, y los presidentes de los otros caucus para asegurar que mejoremos la vida de las familias trabajadoras en todo el estado.”

Rep. Aarón Ortíz Named to House Democratic Leadership Team

Speaker Welch Announces Appointments to House Democratic Leadership Team

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch announced the members of his House Democratic leadership team Thursday, including state Reps. Jehan Gordon-Booth, Robyn Gabel, Jaime M. Andrade, Jr., and Jay Hoffman.

Welch released the following statement:
“As we begin a new day in the House, I’m committed to assembling a Democratic leadership team that values those things that have made our caucus so successful while also pursuing needed changes to strengthen our caucus, our House, and our state. Throughout their careers, Reps. Gordon-Booth, Gabel, Andrade, and Hoffman have all brought leadership, integrity, and unique perspectives to our chamber. They have spoken passionately for their communities and also extended their hands to their colleagues in compromise. I look forward to working closely with them, and with all members of this chamber, to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of this moment.”

The following can be attributed to state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, who will serve as deputy majority leader and speaker pro-tempore:

“As Speaker Welch begins a historic speakership, I’m proud to be a part of a leadership team that recognizes that the diversity of our caucus is our strength. Last week, Democrats stood together to move forward on landmark legislation advancing justice for all – something that required each of us to think beyond our own experience and listen to one another. While there is a lot of work ahead, we will continue to work together in this way to
build a stronger Illinois.”

The following can be attributed to state Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, who will serve as assistant majority leader:
“Speaker Welch has called on every member of this House to work together to meet the challenges of this moment. We come to the table prepared to advocate for the critical services families and small businesses need to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, smart budget solutions that invest in our future, the health of our families, our environmental resources, strong schools, and a strong economy.”

The following can be attributed to state Rep. Jaime M. Andrade, Jr., D-Chicago, who will serve as assistant majority leader:
“This leadership team reflects the diversity and geography of our state, and we share a commitment to doing what is right for every part of Illinois. The challenges ahead of us are clear, but Speaker Welch has made it clear this is no time to hide from these challenges – it’s time to confront them head-on and work together to strengthen our state.”

The following can be attributed to state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, who will serve as assistant majority leader:
“The work ahead of our state is so critical. We are tasked with bringing Illinois through an unprecedented pandemic, repairing the budgetary damage that crisis has created, and building a stronger, more just state. Democrats stand united with Speaker Welch in this effort. We’re enthused by this new moment and remain committed to continuing our work for a stronger middle class, an economy that works for everyone, and a better Illinois for

Welch’s full leadership team will consist of: 

State Rep. Greg Harris – Majority Leader, State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth – Deputy Majority Leader / Speaker Pro-Tempore
State Rep. Mary E. Flowers – Deputy Majority Leader and Dean of the Caucus
State Rep. Jaime M. Andrade, Jr. – Assistant Majority Leader State Rep. Robyn Gabel – Assistant Majority Leader State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez – Assistant Majority Leader State Rep. Jay Hoffman – Assistant Majority Leader State Rep. Natalie Manley – Assistant Majority Leader State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr. – Assistant Majority Leader State Rep. Delia Ramirez – Assistant Majority Leader State Rep. Carol Ammons – Democratic Conference Chair

In addition to these leadership posts, Welch has tapped leaders within each caucus of the House Democratic delegation to serve as a caucus whips. These members will be empowered to rally the various caucuses around legislation and issues of importance to the entire Democratic Caucus. This team will be: 

State Rep. Aaron Ortiz – Latinx Caucus Whip
State Rep. Kam Buckner – Black Caucus Whip
State Rep. Theresa Mah – Asian Caucus Whip
State Rep. Larry Walsh, Jr. – Downstate Caucus Whip
State Rep. Deb Conroy – Women’s Caucus Whip

State Rep. Will Guzzardi – Progressive Caucus Whip

The following can be attributed to Rep. Aaron Ortiz, D-Chicago, who will serve as Latinx Caucus Whip.

“Honored to be selected to serve in the Democratic leadership team. Thankful to Speaker Welch for granting me this opportunity to serve the state of Illinois as one of the Democratic Caucus Whips. I remain committed more than ever to serving the great State of Illinois in my new capacity. Now more than ever we need to work together to pass meaningful legislation that can help working families overcome the effects of the ongoing pandemic.”

Welch and his full leadership team are preparing new changes to the House rules, based on input from both sides of the aisle.

The Illinois Latino Caucus stands in firm support of COVID Emergency Housing legislation

 The Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus stands in solidarity and firm support of SB3066 HA-5, State Representative Delia Ramirez’s COVID Emergency Housing legislation to make sure that people at risk of eviction and foreclosure during the pandemic can stay in and keep their homes.

Communities across our state, and specifically communities of color, have suffered unprecedented health and economic hardship during the COVID pandemic. Hundreds of thousands across the state are currently at risk of homelessness, many of them in the Latino community and at the highest risks of contracting COVID.

SB 3066 HA 5 will give tenants and homeowners necessary relief by:

 creating eviction protections that include an extension of the Governor’s eviction moratorium, sealing of evictions during the COVID emergency period, and protections for those attempting to make partial payments despite economic hardship

 legislating clear guidelines for the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program that ensure the most in need, including the undocumented, will be able to access relief funds

Stopping residential foreclosures though May 2021

We call on our colleagues in the General Assembly to join us in supporting this critical legislation during this lame-duck session to prevent an eviction and foreclosure crisis that will devastate communities across our state and push families into homelessness.