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At start of a new term, Latino Caucus welcomes new members, celebrates successes

Another new member of the Latino Caucus is also the youngest in the State House. Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery) is 26. He immigrated to the United States from Uruguay with his family when he was three. A political newcomer, but not new to progressive causes, Vogel served on the Maryland Youth Advisory Council and worked for Hilary Clinton, Cory Booker and Cheryl Kagan. He has advocated for gun violence prevention, LGBTQ and reproductive rights, and supports efforts to fully fund the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, Maryland’s multi-billion-dollar education reform plan. Vogel is assigned to the Ways and Means Committee which reviews proposed laws on issues including youth, families, education, and state and local taxation. In his first session, he plans to draft bills to address youth mental health, hate crimes, and eating disorders. Vogel said he brings a unique perspective to the legislature as a Latino immigrant, as do other caucus members. “Just being able to speak and have conversations with a lot of people in the community has exposed me to a lot of issues,” he said. “It’s important that I speak up for a community that remains underrepresented in our government.” He wants to work so that the General Assembly more closely mirrors the Hispanic population. “As the Latino population grows, we have to make sure that the number of their representatives continues to grow as well,” he said. The medium age of Hispanics in Maryland is 29. “It’s as important to make sure that younger Latinos look up and see people who speak like them, who may have the same stories to tell, and also people in the community listening to them and are willing to advocate for people like them,” he said. Rosanne Skirble, Maryland Matters

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