News Release

California Latino Policy Summit Highlights Top Issues Affecting Latino Families

Latino leaders address voter registration, economic priorities, smart justice policies, health, and education

April 25, 2016

Julian Teixeira
(202) 776-1812

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Today, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) gathered Latino community leaders from throughout the state at the NCLR California Latino Policy Summit to discuss and advocate for the needs of Hispanic workers and families. The summit highlighted the urgency of increasing voter registration and health coverage among Latinos and provided information on sound economic, education, and justice reform policies that support working families. Guest speakers included Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D–District 24), Assemblymember Luis A. Alejo (D–District 30) and Harry A. Dalessio from Prudential Retirement, which sponsored the summit.

“It is a powerful feeling when we bring together the leaders working in California’s Latino neighborhoods who can speak from firsthand experience about the community’s needs,” said Delia de la Vara, NCLR Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Affiliate Engagement. “NCLR’s California Latino Policy Summit offers the opportunity for a fresh exchange of ideas and for Latino leaders throughout the state to raise their voices and inspire others to register to vote and be heard as well.”

Latino voter registration was of primary concern to those participating in the summit. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, Latinos account for 34 percent of the state’s adult population but only 18 percent of likely voters, creating a resolve among Hispanic leaders to increase voter registration. NCLR is growing Latino participation with both proven traditional methods and innovative tactics. Its Latinos Vote 2016 campaign is reaching prospective voters in person through multistate community canvassing, Affiliates, service providers, and small businesses. Online, the groundbreaking Latinos Vote app and web tool put registration at users’ fingertips and allow them to help others register just by sharing their phones. In schools, a newly developed high school democracy project provides an easy curriculum to help schools register their eligible high school seniors. NCLR also continues to engage potential voters with proven methods such as issue education and engagement and collaborations with media partners.

The agenda also included policies affecting education, health coverage, and access to financial services. Of particular concern are predatory lending products, such as payday loans, that often result in families spiraling into a debt trap. The summit also included education on options for retirement savings for Latino workers. The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program could provide access to a retirement plan for the first time to nearly 4 million Latinos in California who work for businesses that do not offer retirement programs.

“Prudential is pleased to sponsor the NCLR California Latino Policy Summit,” said Harry A. Dalessio, Senior Vice President, Sales and Strategic Relationships, Prudential Retirement, in remarks to the attendees. “We support NCLR’s work in addressing barriers to retirement readiness in Latino communities in California and other programs in its Wealth-Building Policy Project. The long-term financial well-being of American workers in this country needs to be a critical focus so workers can have the confidence that a secure retirement is achievable. As an industry, we need to remain focused on partnering together to address the retirement crisis and provide advice and education in a way to help people ultimately live with dignity during their retirement years.”

In May 2015, NCLR, with support from The Prudential Foundation, released a research report titled “Enhancing Latino Retirement Readiness in California.” The report found that compared to other racial and ethnic groups, Latinos in California are the least likely to work for an employer that offers a retirement plan and that even among Latinos who have access to a plan at work, participation and savings are relatively low.

NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.