News Column

Miscellaneous Influentials

Oct. 18, 2011

Anna Maria Chavez
Girl Scouts of the USA
Ms. Chavez is a lifetime member Girl Scout. Prior to her new position, she served as CEO of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas. She was deputy chief of staff for Urban Relations and Community Development for former Arizona Governor and current Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. She was named Woman of the Year at the Latina Excellence Awards in 2007. She holds a J.D. from the University of Arizona and a bachelor's degree from Yale University.

Jose H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Archbishop Gomez was ordained in 1978 at the Shrine of Torreciudad, Spain. He has a bachelor's degree and doctorate from the University of Navarre. Before he become Los Angeles' archbishop March 1, he served as archbishop of San Antonio and auxiliary bishop of Denver. In 2007, he brought together Hispanic leaders and bishops to create the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders. He was the first chairman of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church.

Maria Neira
Vice president
New York State United Teachers
Ms. Neira is an elementary school bilingual teacher who rose through the ranks to become a recognized expert on educational issues and vice president of the union. She oversees the union's initiatives on educational policy. She was appointed to serve on the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. She also serves on the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Advisory Council. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Richard J. Noriega
President and CEO
The nonprofit AVANCE Inc. focuses on offering early childhood education, parenting and family services to Hispanic families. Mr. Noriega's career includes service in the Army, as a public servant and in business. He was manager of economic development at CenterPoint Energy Inc. in Houston for 15 years. He was a five-term member of the Texas House of Representatives. He authored the Texas Dream Act. His military service included tours in Afghanistan and in Operation Enduring Freedom. He also served as Laredo sector commander during the U.S. Border Patrol's Operation Jumpstart. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Houston and a master's degree from Harvard University.

Baldemar Velasquez
Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), AFL-CIO
FLOC is a union of migrant farmworkers in the eastern United States founded by Mr. Velasquez. He received a bachelor's degree from Bluffton College in 1969. He founded FLOC in 1967, beginning with organizing migrant and seasonal farmworkers in northwest Ohio. FLOC held its first constitutional convention as a union in 1979. His efforts have earned him a MacArthur Fellowship, a Development of People Award by the Campaign for Human Development of the U.S. Catholic Conference, an Aguila Azteca Award by the government of Mexico, and honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo.


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