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EXECUTIVE BOARD




     

Richard A. Cruz,
Chairman


 

LPRAC Chairman Cruz is a lifelong native and resident of Bridgeport. He holds an A.S. in Respiratory Care from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. Chairman Cruz was appointed to LPRAC in January of 2010 and re-appointed by several Speakers of the House including the current leader of the Connecticut House of Representatives Brendan Sharkey. Chairman Cruz has served in different leadership capacities at LPRAC where he excelled as its Priorities & Legislation Committee Chair, Vice-Chairman of the Board, and currently serving as Chairman of the board. Chairman Cruz is also the official representative of LPRAC to the Health Equity Commission. Chairman Cruz is well known and respected by his peers as a great community leader in Bridgeport where he is currently serving as the President of the Greater Bridgeport Latino Network and several other committees in town. For the last 28 years Chairman Cruz has worked at the St Vincent Medical Center in Bridgeport as a Respiratory Care Practitioner. Chairman Cruz is married with one son and one daughter on the way.



Elena Trueworthy
Elena Trueworthy, M.S.
Vice-Chair

 


Elena Trueworthy is a resident of New Britain, CT and has over 15 years experience working on behalf of children and families. Born and raised in a bilingual home by her father and Colombian mother, she received an undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut, and a Masters degree in Human Services from Springfield College. Elena currently works for the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving as the director of the Hartford Area Child Care Collaborative, an initiative that focuses on improving and sustaining the quality of care child for children and families in the greater Hartford region. Previous to her current position, she worked in early care and education for ten years working up the ranks to be a supervisor with oversight of departments focused on health, mental health, nutrition, and parent involvement for low-income children and families, primarily Latino. She has also been on the ground as a community organizer. Prior to being promoted to her supervisory role, Elena provided and continued to be actively involved with bilingual leadership development to New Britain residents to enhance protective factors and well-being in children, families, and communities in a largely Latino neighborhood of New Britain. Elena is passionate about advocating and supporting the Latino community, especially as it relates to equity and having a voice. She currently supports the work of the Latinos for Progress group in New Britain, served as Secretary of this group for two years, and has worked on the election campaigns of several Latino candidates for office. She is also an active member of the North-Oak Neighborhood Revitalization Zone. Elena is married to Michael Trueworthy and they have two daughters, Nadia age 7 and Abigail age 5. Elena and Michael also coach the Central Connecticut State University Diving Team.



Emanuela Palmares Leaf

Emanuela Palmares-Leaf, Secretary

 


Emanuela Palmares Leaf is a Brazilian-American immigrant raised in Danbury, Connecticut, Emanuela Leaf’s first community engagement was at an early age of 15, when she willingly contributed her time and effort to support operations of Danbury Library. Since then, strongly believing in her personal mission of “creating a meaningful social change”, Mrs. Leaf has leveraged her talents in bringing the utmost positive impact to her hometown. Her impressive history of engagement with public and non-governmental organizations includes her being a Domestic Violence Victim’s Advocate at the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury focusing on Portuguese-speaking victims; Board Member at the Regional YMCA; Member at the United Way of Northern Fairfield County, Emerging Leaders Council;  Member at the United Way of Northern Fairfield County, Community Impact Grant Selection Process; Member at the Danbury Housing Partnership; Chairwoman at the Association of Religious Communities' Blue Ribbon Commission on Immigrants; a Volunteer Translator at AmeriCares Free Clinic, as well as a Teacher of English as a Second Language at the Center for Brazilian Assistance (CBA). Mrs. Leaf, now 30 years old, is currently serving on the Governance Board of Danbury High School, being elected for the role for the second consecutive term. She is taking an active role in review, discussion, of numerous policies that foster progress in achieving the educational success of the students. She  also holds what she refers to as “the most meaningful position of all” – being a mother to her son Caio, a wife to her husband Thomas Leaf, and the proud daughter of her parents Celia Bacelar and Genilson Palmares.





Yolanda Castillo
Yolanda Castillo,
Treasurer


Yolanda Castillo of Puerto Rican descent was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut by parents who were one of the first Puerto Rican families to arrive in Hartford seeking employment and better opportunities. Ms. Castillo’s father Juan Castillo (deceased) was also actively involved in the community and was one of the original founders of the Hartford Puerto Rican Parade which taught Ms. Castillo the importance of being involved and acknowledging one’s heritage. Ms. Castillo is a proud graduate of the Hartford Public Schools system then moving on to gain her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Master of Arts in Counseling Education from Southern Connecticut State University. Ms. Castillo is currently employed with the State of Connecticut Department of Rehabilitative Services as a Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor; for the past 25 years she has provided assistance to people with disabilities in finding competitive employment. Besides her degrees from Southern Connecticut State University, Ms. Castillo has a Paralegal Certificate from the University of Hartford and a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Certificate from Boston University. Ms. Castillo has received several recognitions and awards for her work in the community and has held various political positions throughout her involvement. Ms. Castillo has 1 adult daughter, Jasmine and 1 granddaughter, Sadayah and currently resides in the town of Manchester where she is actively a member of the Democratic Town Committee. Ms. Castillo was appointed as a commissioner in 2010 due to her activism in the Latino community with 20+ years in the political arena. She is honored to serve as Treasurer of the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission’s Board and has served on several committees and believes through this effort she can help in implementing legislative policies that will assist and improve the lives of Latino and Puerto Rican communities throughout Connecticut.



BOARD MEMBERS








Ramon L Arroyo
Ramón L. Arroyo, Commissioner

 


Mr. Arroyo of Hartford was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Special Education; also has a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut.  Mr. Arroyo after 23 years of service retired from the City of Hartford Municipal Government as a Special Assistant to the City Manager. Mr. Arroyo was appointed to LPRAC by House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey.



 

Migdalia Castro
Migdalia Castro, Commissioner

 

LPRAC Commissioner Migdalia Castro was born in Bronx, New York to parents of Puerto Rican descent; Commissioner Castro migrated to New Haven with her family at the young age of 12 and has lived there since.  Commissioner Castro’s interest in public service stemmed from her own personal experiences dealing with poverty.  At one point in her early adulthood, she was displaced, alone, and with very limited resources. It didn’t take long for her to discover that she was part of a larger group of people who were also poor but filled with love, support, and possibilities.  Commissioner Castro was first known for her work in the arts and culture as an organizer for a local dance team, and also as director for the Hispanic Women’s Softball New Haven-Puerto Rico Exchange. However, her community involvement began at her daughter’s school.  As Alder in Ward 16, Commissioner Castro addressed the need to protect Social Security, sliver lots, and new businesses in Fair Haven. She helped promote local businesses on Grand Avenue, identified the businesses’ needs, changed zoning regulations to allow new businesses to open their doors and current businesses to expand and operate in a supported environment, and lifted restrictions to allow businesses to better serve their customers’ needs.  Commissioner Castro plans to continue her studies at Southern Connecticut State University in the fall of 2014.  She was appointed to LPRAC by Senate Majority Leader, State Senator Martin M. Looney.




Roberto C. Fernandez
Roberto C. Fernandez, Commissioner

 
Mr. Fernandez was born in New York City and currently serves as the Director of Quinebaug Valley Community College, Willimantic Center. He holds a B.S. degree from Southern Illinois University and an M.S. from Western Governors University. Mr. Fernandez also serves as the Legislative Director, for the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges (4Cs). A retired U.S. Navy veteran, Mr. Fernandez is active in many community organizations working on issues of access to education and poverty. Mr. Fernandez was appointed to LPRAC by Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. and House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan in March 2012.



Ana Gonzalez
Ana González, Commissioner

 

LPRAC Commissioner Ana Gonzalez currently serves as the Director of Community Outreach for Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. Through her work, she is able to motivate community members to obtain their goals through a higher education path. Of Mexican origins, Ana values education as the premier tool to help Latinos achieve the American Dream. Ana believes that through education our Latino youth and professionals can obtain the skills needed to be competitive professionals in a demanding 21st century workforce. Ana has her bachelor's degree from Loyola University New Orleans and her Master's Degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. Ms. González was appointed by State Senator Martin M. Looney, Majority Leader of the Connecticut General Assembly.




Commissioner Gonzalez

Jay Gonzalez, Commissioner
 
Commissioner Jay Gonzalez was born in the City of Bridgeport and is a lifelong resident of Waterbury. He attended 12 years of Catholic school in Waterbury and graduated from Sacred Heart High school in 1998. After some college he went to work at Verizon, where he has been employed for over 10 years and currently employed in Sales. Commissioner Gonzalez is presently serving on the Rivera Memorial Foundation Board and is very involved in the local community. Commissioner Gonzalez is also a member of the Waterbury Republican Town Committee and was appointed to LPRAC by House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero.



George Hernandez George (Jorge) Hernández, Commissioner

 

Commissioner Hernández Is a well-rounded Latino professional with over 25 years experience in Business Development in both the for-profit and the not-for profit sectors.  For the past 7 years he has been the Windham Region - Small Business Specialist for the Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA).  Currently he heads up VIProfessionals - his own Strategic Planning & Personal Development consultancy.  He has extensive experience as a Business & Personal Development Consultant, and as an Interpreter & Translator, having most recently served as such in the CT Superior Court system. He has taught English/Spanish at Berlitz International School of Languages, Business Administration at Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) and has lived and traveled extensively throughout the US, Latin America, Caribbean, Africa & Europe.  Born in NYC, raised in Puerto Rico and has enjoyed living in NYC, Los Angeles, Hartford and now Willimantic, CT. He is certified in Total Quality Management from the U of Phoenix and has a BA in Ministry from an outreach program of Azusa Pacific University.  He has extensive Board of Directors experience; he has served on the Northeast Economic Alliance (NEA), the Northeastern Connecticut Community Development Corporation (NCCDC) Board of Directors and currently he is the Chairperson of OPP’s Windham Charter School Corp.



Dr. Quinones
Dr. Agnes Quiñones,

Commissioner

 
Dr. Agnes Quiñones was born and raised in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. As an undergraduate student in Amherst, Massachusetts, she was often the only Latina in many of her math and science classes. Dr. Quiñones holds advanced degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in future studies and Multicultural organization development. For the last 21 years, she has served as Program Manager for after-school programs, Neighborhood Youth Centers Program, and Youth Service Bureaus in the Connecticut State Department of Education. Dr. Quiñones was selected as the 2008 Latina Citizen of the Year by the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission; was named the 2009 Latino de Oro Education Award Recipient by Hartford’s Identidad Latina Newspaper and most recently was awarded the 2013 Literacy Advocacy Award by the Reading and Language Arts Department at Central Connecticut State University. Dr. Quiñones was appointed to the Latino & Puerto Rican Affairs Commission by State Senator Donald E. Williams, Jr., President Pro Tempore and State Representative Brendan Sharkey, Speaker of the House of the Connecticut General Assembly.



Dr. Eugene Salorio

Dr. Eugene M. Salorio, Commissioner

 


Dr. Eugene Meilán Salorio is a professor of strategy and international business in the School of Business at the University of Connecticut , where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at the Stamford , Hartford and Waterbury regional campuses. He also is an affiliate faculty at UConn’s El Instituto: Instituto of Latina/o, Caribbean , and Latin American Studies. Dr. Salorio has a B.A. in medieval history from Wesleyan University , an M.S. in Business Policy and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia University , and a D.B.A. in International Business from Harvard University . Prof. Salorio was appointed to LPRAC by Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr., and House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan on February 1, 2010, and reappointed by them in February 2012.


 
Pablo Soto
Pablo Soto,
Commissioner
 

Mr. Pablo Soto was born in Newark, NJ and relocated to Connecticut in 1994. He is currently a personal financial consultant and interpreter. He is also President and Program Director of Next Generation Missionaries Academy, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the community.Pablo has also worked in the private and public sector holding various positions. Within the past 10 years he has worked as a Case Manager and Provider Liaison for United Way of CT the Connecticut Department of Social Service Care 4 Kids program administrator. His position included outreach and liaison responsibilities. He has also worked as an Appeals Analyst and Fair Hearing Coordinator for First Coast Service Options, Inc. the former Medicare Part B carrier for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services in a capacity as a Health Insurance Medical Claim Analyst and Preparer of Case File for Impartial Hearing Officers and Administrative Law Judges. Pablo has served with U.S. Army and Connecticut National Guard. Currently he is a member of the American Legion Post #45 and Antique Veterans World Post #1.  Pablo’s civic engagement activities include the School Governance Council at a local high school in Meriden, CT and the Hispanic Outreach Leaders in Action of the Greater Meriden Chamber of commerce.



Roberto C. Fernandez
Feny Taylor, Commissioner

 

Mrs. Feny Taylor was born in the barrio "Susua" of Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico. She is the proud mother of four and a grandmother of nine children. She has resided in New Haven, Connecticut since 1977.  She is co-owner of Hair Happenings Salon located in New Haven, CT. Mrs. Taylor is currently the President of The National Hispanic Heritage Organization, Inc. (NHHO) a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization that was founded in 2006 in the state of Connecticut. Its members are dedicated to providing needed support and services to the Hispanic Community. Mrs. Taylor is a former president of FLECHAS, (Fiestas de Loíza En Connecticut en Honor al Apóstol Santiago), Inc., a non-profit cultural and arts organization established in 1977 to promote the Afro-Puerto Rican heritage.  Mrs. Taylor is also a board member of the Family Alliance Agency in New Haven, CT., which provides services to  victims of domestic violence. Feny Taylor was also involved with the Connecticut Puerto Rican Parade for over ten years and during that time she held several positions both on the Executive Board and on the general committee, such as Secretary (State & Local), 2nd Vice President (Local), Vice President (State), and l!t Vice President (State). In 1996, she became President of the New Haven County Cultural Committee, a former local chapter of the CT Puerto Rican Parade which she founded. She remained President of said committee until 2000. In 1998, she was selected as Godmother alongside actress Jennifer Lopez at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc., which is held annually in New York City.  On May 10, 2002, Feny returned to her hometown of Sabana Grande where she was awarded with the "Distinguished Citizen Award." She has represented her culture and her island of birth in an outstanding manner and her hometown found her worthy of the title. Her love and devotion for her Puerto Rican roots has been an asset to groups that support the Hispanic community and enforce pride in their Hispanic heritage. Mrs. Taylor is an excellent example of the triumphs Puerto Rican women can accomplish and she is proof that Latinas have risen in society and will continue to do so.




Danny Torres, Commissioner

 


Mr. Torres was born in the Bronx, New York in 1957.  In 1984, Mr. Torres became a city firefighter in Meriden, a position he currently holds today.  In addition to firefighting, he is a realtor with Century 21.  Mr. Torres was appointed to LPRAC by Christopher G. Donovan, Speaker of the House of Representatives pursuant to Public Act 09-07.


 

LPRAC Staff Members

Werner Oyanadel, Executive Director

Lucy Goicoechea-Hernández, Special Projects Director

Orlando Rodriguez, Associate Legislative Analyst

Clarisa Cardone, Senior Legislative Secretary



CT Stats

 Latino State Senators in Connecticut 2013 to 2014


 Latino State Representatives in Connecticut 2013 to 2014


Hispanic Population in 2013
527,161

Hispanic Percentage of

Statewide Population in 2013
14.7%

Hispanic Percentage

of Statewide Population Under Age 18 in 2013
22%

Median Age of Hispanics in 2012
27.6 years

Hispanic Unemployment Statistics 2008-2012

 

Median Earnings of

Hispanics in 2012
$22,254

 

Poverty Rate for

Hispanic Children in 2012
35%

 

Percent of Hispanics Without

Health Insurance in 2012
19%

 

Infant mortality rate for

Hispanics in 2010
7.7 deaths per 1,000 live births

 

 


Find us on

Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission • 18-20 Trinity Street Hartford • Connecticut • 06106 Phone: (860) 240-8330 • Fax: (860) 240-0315