SPRINGFIELD — Cesar Ruiz, President and CEO of Golden Years Home Care and a one-time Springfield School Committee member, announced the launch of the Hispanic Latino Leaders Now Political Action Committee (HLLNPAC).
Ruiz formed the political action committee to advance public policy that reflects the values and addresses issues important to Hispanic and Latino voters in Massachusetts and also to advance Hispanic/Latino candidates for office throughout the Commonwealth.
The PAC was established with an initial $100,000 personal loan by Ruiz to the new entity, as allowed by the regulations for establishing a political action committee.
The mission of the new Hispanic Latino Leaders Now PAC is to “support our goals and ideals, including, but not limited to, a fair tax code, support of electronic ballot signature legislation, and equity and inclusion on statewide committees and appointments.” according to Ruiz.
“This new political action committee will also make political campaign contributions and provide support to persons of color running for local, regional, and statewide office who will represent the issues of importance and that matter most to Hispanic and Latino voters and populations,” he added.
According to the new website supporting the formation of HLLNPAC, while Hispanics and Latinos comprise 13% of the population in Massachusetts, they represent a very small proportion of the elected chambers of the state House and Senate. While these proportions have increased slightly on the local level, they still do not rise to the representative population of residents in Massachusetts that identify as Hispanic or Latino. A further mission of the political action committee is to advance qualified candidates to better represent the electorate and population as a whole.
In addition to founding HLLNPAC, Ruiz is serving on its inaugural board and as clerk of the new organization. Ruiz operates Golden Years Home Care, Golden Years Behavioral Health Group, and Golden Years Staffing, and is a member of the board of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council. He is also a corporator at Monson Savings Bank and, from 1980 to 1986, served as an at-large member of the Springfield School Committee.
Ruiz is joined on the PAC board by Andrew Melendez, director of the Latino Economic Development Corp. Headquartered in Springfield, that organization connects Latino business organizations to available capital-improvement grants and serves as an advocacy group in support of Latino economic development in the Commonwealth.
Melendez formerly served as the Western Mass. director for Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the largest business association in Massachusetts, with more than 700 members in the western region.
The board of the new PAC also includes two other individuals. Lidya Rivera-Early is part of the founding board and serves as director of Community Engagement at Springfield Technical Community College. Born in Connecticut, she spent part of her childhood in Puerto Rico before moving to Springfield.
Rounding out the board is Cristina Berrios, who serves as office manager at Golden Years Home Care Services. She handles the coordination of all central-office functions at the company, including training and staff development.