Here's how Sacramento organizations prepare people from underrepresented communities to serve in office

Curated by Adrian Ruiz

“This is the first chance that I’ve ever had in my life to work with other professionals who have a Latinx background,” Pacheco said. “And that is just paramount in my own maturity and idea of who I am and the assets that I bring to the table.”

Nueva Epoca is one of several Sacramento programs that prepare people from underrepresented communities to serve in public office. The programs often aim to build a diverse pipeline of people who can influence civic policy decisions in the future.

Adrian Ruiz co-created the Nueva Epoca program, which means a new era in Spanish. It started after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately impacted Latino communities in Sacramento County.

The program aims to make sure Sacramento leaders more closely reflect the region’s Latino population, Ruiz said. Latinos make up 23% of people living in the greater Sacramento region — which includes Sacramento, Yolo, Sutter, Yuba, Placer, and El Dorado counties — according to the 2023 Hispanic Economic Report. But Ruiz said Latinos are underrepresented in public office in the area.

Written by: Kristen Lam for capradio.

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