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For Immediate Release
Date Contact

October 7, 2003

Ellen Qualls
(804) 786-2211, x 2379
cell: (804) 393-9429

Governor Warner Announces Latino Advisory Commission
— Panel to advise Governor on increased links to Latino community, Latin America —

RICHMOND — Governor Mark R. Warner today announced the creation of a Latino Advisory Commission to advise the Governor regarding the development of economic, professional, cultural, educational, and governmental links between the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Latino Community in Virginia, and Latin America.

“One of the things that makes Virginia special is the rich diversity of its people, and my administration views our diversity as a source of strength,” Governor Warner said. “Our diverse and growing population of Virginians of Latino descent presents new opportunities for the Commonwealth, and the members of this new Commission bring a wide variety of professional, cultural, and entrepreneurial experience, as well as extensive records of community leadership.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Latino community in Virginia more than doubled between 1990 and 2000 - from a population of about 160,000 in 1990 to 329,540 in 2000.

The Latino Advisory Commission, created through an Executive Order, will:

  • Advise the Governor regarding the development of economic, professional, cultural, educational, and governmental links between the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Latino community in Virginia, and Latin America.
  • Undertake studies, symposiums, research, and factual reports to gather information to formulate and present recommendations to the Governor relative to issues of concern and importance to the Latino community in the Commonwealth.
  • Advise the Governor as needed regarding any statutory, regulatory, or other issues of importance to the Latino community in the Commonwealth.

The Commission consists of up to 21 members appointed by the Governor representing business, education, the arts, and government. The Secretaries of Commerce and Trade, Commonwealth, Health and Human Resources, Transportation, and Education, or their designees, shall serve as ex officio members of the Commission.

  • Walter Tejada of Arlington, a member of the Arlington County Board of Supervisors, will serve as Chairman;
  • Beatriz Amberman of Virginia Beach, the founder and President of Hispanic Community Dialogue, will serve as Vice Chair;
  • Julia Torres Barden of Richmond, founder of AHORA, American Hispanics of Richmond Association;
  • Ricardo Cabellos of Arlington, Campaign Field Coordinator for the Service Employees International Union of the AFL-CIO;
  • Ricardo Castaneda of Harrisonburg, secondary service provider for Harrisonburg City Schools;
  • George Crespo of Richmond, a Trooper with Virginia State Police;
  • Pablo Davis of Charlottesville, Program Director, South Atlantic Humanities Center;
  • Veronica Donahue of Amherst, Coordinator of the Nelson County Regional Migrant Education Program;
  • Cecelia Espenoza of Arlington, senior associate and general counsel in the Office of the General Counsel of the Executive Office for Immigration Review;
  • Jorge Figueredo of Springfield, Executive Director of the Hispanic Committee of Virginia;
  • Tanya Gonzalez of Richmond, Immigrant Community Liaison for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond;
  • Mary Littreal of Fries, an interpreter and notary public;
  • Indira Moran of Woodbridge, Medication Access Coordinator for Northern Virginia Family Service;
  • Esteban Nieto of Harrisonburg, Human Resources Supervisor for Cargill Turkey Products;
  • Augusto Ratti-Angulo of Norfolk, owner and publisher of El Eco de Virginia;
  • Gloria Rodriguez of Virginia Beach, Assistant Director of Admissions and Multicultural Outreach at Norfolk State University;
  • Craig Schwartz of Midlothian, General Manager of Richmond Manufacturing for Philip Morris USA;
  • Andres Tobar of Arlington, publisher and editor of Latinos On Wheels;
  • Michel Zajur of Midlothian, President and CEO of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The Commission will submit an interim report to the Governor by December 15, 2003, and a final report by September 1, 2004.

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