Hispanics underrepresented in SETX leadership roles - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Hispanics underrepresented in SETX leadership roles

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Cinco de Mayo has come to represent a celebration of the contributions that all Hispanics have made to America. Despite the Hispanic community seeing a 70% increase in Jefferson County in the last decade the number of Latinos in leadership roles has stayed the same.

According to the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission the last census in 2010 reported 42,000 Hispanics in Jefferson County. In 2000 that number was only 26,000 and the estimate for 2012 exceeded 50,000. However the population increase is not accurately represented when it comes to leadership roles in Southeast Texas.

Roberto Flores with LULAC said his community could hold a strong political future if more Hispanics stepped up to those leadership roles

“You can count the Hispanic elected officials on one hand,” he said. “We just don't have any Hispanics on the school board, county commissioners or anything like that.”

A recent study showed that US teachers are nowhere near as diverse as their students, with fewer than 8% Hispanic educators in the nation. Flores said there's evidence of that in Beaumont.

“Hispanic population is growing and of course along with that we have young people in schools and they would like to see someone that looks a little but like them in the classroom,” he said.

Others in the Hispanic community like Hector Galvan, feel that they are not only misrepresented but misunderstood.

“We're out here working not doing anything wrong people are just making their money that's all we're doing and making the community better,” Galvan said.

Flores agrees that the Hispanic community contributes in large part to the workforce, tax base and the business community. He believes once the younger generation is old enough to vote he thinks there will be a shift in the number of Hispanic leaders in Southeast Texas.

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