Politics

Latinos Surge in Elected Office in Suburbs Despite Absence in D.C. Seats

While Latinos have struggled to get elected to the D.C. Council, they have had much better luck in the suburbs.

The D.C. metropolitan area has an estimated 800,000 Latinos residing not only in the District but Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland and Alexandria and Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties in Virginia. While few Latinos serve on town and small city councils, several have managed to county-level and major city governing board seats.

In Montgomery County, two members of the county council are Latinos. Nancy Navarro represents District Four encompassing Wheaton, Md., up to the Howard County line along Georgia Avenue and in Sandy Spring, Laytonville, Glenmont, Etchison, Aspen Hill and Kensington. Navarro won a special election to the council in 2009 and was reelected in 2010, 2014 and 2018. In 2018, Montgomery County voters elected Gabe Albornoz to a council at-large position. Montgomery County’s Latino population consists of 19.9 percent, about the same percentage as its African American residents; both groups have two representatives on the council.

RELATED: Latinos in D.C. Seek More Political Power

In Prince George’s County, one Latino sits on the county council, Deni L. Taveras. Taveras, of Dominican descent, represents District Two that includes areas such as Hyattsville, Adelphi, North Brentwood, Chillum, Langley Park and Mount Rainier. Prince George’s County has a 14.9 %population with strong Latino presence in Langley Park and Hyattsville.

In Northern Virginia, Canek Aguirre became the first Latino elected to the Alexandria City Council in 2018. Alexandria consists of 16 percent Latino. Arlington County elected its first Brown member of the board of supervisors, Kate Cristol, in 2015. She chaired the body in 2018.

In Prince William County, Yesli Vega serves as the Coles District Supervisor on the board of supervisors. Vega won election to the position in November 2019. A Republican and the first Latina on the board, Vega has received national attention for being in a commercial talking about the education she obtained at American Military University.

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