Opinion: From the Fernandezes to the Pastors to the Lópezes, it’s refreshing to see how some Arizona Latinos make politics a family affair.
Yuma’s Fernandez clan has lots to celebrate.
Charlene Fernandez, the political matriarch and former Arizona House minority leader, just got a plum gig with the Biden administration.
That opened her legislative seat, and who better to fill it than her son Brian? He was sworn in this week with little fanfare since legislative appointments appear now routine, given the huge exodus of state lawmakers getting other jobs or running for higher office.
And Charlene’s daughter, Lisa, just tied the knot a few days ago. Huge congrats! But that’s not the only reason to mention her here. Lisa Fernandez is the chief of staff of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.
I’d say three family members holding key political positions is a bit of a big deal, especially in Arizona where the road to influential and elected office isn’t necessarily a piece of cake.
Other Latino families have joined politics
It reminds me of other Latinos who’ve made politics a family affair, including the López family of Nogales, the Hernández family of Tucson, the Heredia family of metro Phoenix and, of course, the Pastor family of Phoenix.
Let’s begin with Nogales. Marco López is a former mayor of that border city and is now running for the Democratic nomination for Arizona governor to replace outgoing GOP Gov. Doug Ducey.
López’s mother, Esther Melendez-López, is the current vice mayor of Nogales and is co-chairing his gubernatorial campaign.
In Tucson, the Hernándezes have a made a name for themselves. Rep. Daniel Hernández first catapulted to the spotlight when he helped save the life of his boss, then U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, after she was shot in the head in a mass shooting in 2011.
Hernández was subsequently elected to the state House and is now seeking a congressional seat out of Tucson. His sister Alma is a state representative and sister Consuelo sits on the Sunnyside Unified School District governing board.
Then there are the Heredia brothers. Francisco serves on the Mesa City Council while Luis is the Arizona state director to U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly.
And who can forget U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, who served in Congress for 23 years? Sadly, he died a few years ago, but his daughter Laura Pastor followed his footsteps locally and now is serving on the Phoenix City Council.
Arizona should hear more from them
There are other Arizonans who’ve made politics a family affair but you get the point.
In the Fernandez clan, Charlene, is leading the way. She recently left the state Legislature when she was appointed state director of rural development for Arizona for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Yuma County Board of Supervisors appointed her son Brian to fill her Legislative District 4 seat. He’s a small business owner and software consultant.
Arizonans ought to hear a lot more from the Fernandezes, the Lópezes, the Hernandezes, the Pastors and the Heredia brothers.
It’s inspiring to see Latinos getting ahead and making politics a family affair – regardless of their stances on issues.
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