Top 100 Influentials 2009 - Politics
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Sonia Chang-Diaz
Sonia Chang-Diaz   State Senator, Second Suffolk District

The first Latina member of the Massachusetts State Senate, Sen. Chang-Diaz has long been committed to public service. During her tenure as schoolteacher in the public school system, she learned the many challenges faced by students, parents and educators and how state politics enter into the equation.  She serves on several State Committees, including the Joint Committees on Education, Housing and Elder Affairs.

Ruben Diaz Jr.
Ruben Diaz Jr.   Bronx Borough President

A lifelong resident of the Bronx, President Diaz was elected to lead the borough in a special election held in April of this year. He had previously served the people of his community since 1997 as a member of the New York State Assembly. President Diaz has long been a champion of working families, and has become known far beyond the Bronx for his advocacy of civil and human rights.

Sen. Dean Florez
Sen. Dean Florez   California State Senator

An outspoken leader in an array of areas including the environment, education, transportation, government accountability and infrastructure, Sen. Florez has represented the Central Valley for almost a decade. He was instrumental in strengthening the Clean Air Act, taking on powerful industrial interests in order to do so. The grandson of farm laborers, he is a graduate of UCLA where he was student body president as well as the Harvard Business School.

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva   Member of U.S. Congress

An outspoken advocate for comprehensive health care reform, Rep. Grijalva recently made national news when he strongly supported a public option on the eve of President  Obama's address to Congress. In his forth term representing Arizona's Congressional District 7, near Tucson, he is a member of the committees on Education and Labor and Natural Resources, and has long been a passionate supporter of immigration reform.

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan   Member of U.S. Congress

Serving in his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives for his native state of New Mexico, Rep. Lujan sits on the committees on Homeland Security and Science and Technology; he is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He applies his considerable expertise on clean energy technology and efficiency, to the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee

Sen. Abel Maldonado
Sen. Abel Maldonado   California State Senator

America took notice of the young man from California in the year 2000, when he delivered the first Spanish-only keynote speech at any Party National Convention. Since then, he was a member of Gov. Schwarzenegger's Transition Team, served his hometown of Santa Maria as a City Council member at the age of 26 and as Mayor. A Republican, he represents his majority-Democratic district in Sacramento.