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By Suzanne Gamboa - 11/24/2014


Six-term Congresswoman Linda Sánchez was elected to be the new chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Tuesday.

Sánchez, D-Calif., will take over in the next congressional session that begins in January, while current chairman Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas, will finish out his term for the current 113th Congress when it adjourns for the year. Five U.S. House newcomers, three who are Democrats and two Republicans, will raise the total Latino members in Congress next year to 29.

The caucus is open to members of all parties, but is all Democrats. Republicans split from the caucus years ago and formed the Congressional Hispanic Conference.

Generally the caucus chairmanship goes to the member who has been serving as first vice chair, which was Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M. But caucus members elected Sánchez to the spot after Lujan was chosen by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Lujan is the first Latino chosen to head the DCCC.

The caucus will be led by two Latinas next session. Caucus members also elected Rep. Michelle Grisham Lujan, D-N.M., to serve as first vice chair. A Democratic aide said Sánchez and Grisham were elected by unanimous consent.