Georgia legislature set to add new Latino lawmakers
Incoming State Rep. Rey Martinez, State Senator Jason Estevez, State Rep. Saira Draper, and State Rep. Phil Olaleye will now represent the underrepresented Latino and Hispanic population.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Next year, Georgia’s legislature will add four new Latino and Hispanic lawmakers. Incoming State Rep. Rey Martinez, State Senator Jason Estevez, State Rep. Saira Draper, and State Rep. Phil Olaleye will now represent the underrepresented Latino and Hispanic population.
Draper said that representation is key to passing laws that can benefit all Georgians.
“I was an intern in the state legislature more than 20 years ago. And when I was there, the state legislature looked very, very different than it looks right now. And you know, the state of Georgia is changing, we are seeing more immigrants come into Georgia, we are seeing more black people, more brown people, those numbers are going up,” said Draper.
Her career has come full circle. On Wednesday, the civil rights attorney and mother of three is taking a leading role in reshaping Georgia politics. The US Census Bureau estimates there are more than 1 million Latino people living in Georgia.
Jerry Gonzalez with the GALEO Project says the Latino population has accounted for 28% of the state’s population growth.
“There’s great diversity within the Latino community. unfortunately, we don’t have equal representation based on our population numbers in the Georgia legislature or at the local level,” said Gonzalez.
GALEO works across the state of Georgia to develop Latino leaders and get the Latino community engaged in politics. Gonzalez says this is a start, but there is still more work to be done.
“I think that more points of view are better, right? When you can bring all those points of view into the room, you can make sure that no point of view gets ignored,” said Draper.
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