Governance

What is the Virginia Latino Advisory Board?

The Virginia Latino Advisory Commission (VLAC) was created by executive order in October of 2003 by former Governor Mark R. Warner to provide information about the growing Latino community in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Virginia Latino Advisory Commission was created in recognition of one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in Virginia and the nation as a whole. Latinos in Virginia are native-born U.S. citizens from all parts of the country and foreign-born residents from all over the world.

The VLAC was signed into law and made a permanent Board two years later, effective October 15, 2005.

Historically, the VLAB has advised the Governor on a variety of issues; many of these recommendations can be found in the "Board Reports" section under Publications. Additionally, the Board has planned and carried out Town Hall style meetings, international expositions, etc.

Today, the Board serves at the pleasure of Governor Terry McAuliffe and continues to advise the Governor on issues of Latino interest so that his administration can best serve the Latino constituents of Virginia. The VLAB meets four times a year to discuss these issues, make recommendations, and plan events.

Board Composition and Authority

The Latino Advisory Board's membership is comprised of:

  • 21 non-legislative citizen members, at least 15 of whom shall be of Latino descent, who shall be appointed by the Governor and serve at his pleasure. In addition, the Secretaries of the Commonwealth, Commerce and Trade, Education, Health and Human Resources, Public Safety, and Transportation, or their designees shall serve as ex officio members without voting privileges. All members shall be residents of the Commonwealth.

The Latino Advisory Board has the power and duty to:

  • Advise the Governor regarding the development of economic, professional, cultural, educational, and governmental links between the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Latino community in Virginia, and Latin America;
  • Undertake studies, symposiums, research, and factual reports to gather information to formulate and present recommendations to the Governor relative to issues of concern and importance to the Latino community in the Commonwealth; and
  • Advise the Governor as needed regarding any statutory, regulatory, or other issues of importance to the Latino community in the Commonwealth.

To read the full text, click here.

Committee Descriptions

Education and Workforce Development

The VLAB Education and Workforce Development Committee examines the importance of education and workforce development in supporting Latino communities across Virginia.  By working with K-12 systems, higher education, and workforce development agencies in all regions of the Commonwealth, the committee works to promote greater educational attainment and equity, and stronger pathways to economic opportunity.

Chair Eugene Chigna

Members: Keisha Graziadei-Shup, Vivian Sanchez Jones, Juan Espinoza


Business

The VLAB Business Committee examines the role of Latino businesses in the Virginia economy and considers ways to increase the economic prosperity of Latinos in the workforce.  The Committee works with Latino business owners and leaders across the state to help Latino-owned or Latino-focused businesses grow, and works to promote the importance and influence of Latinos as consumers and business leaders. 

Chair Chris Falcon

Members: Estuardo V. Rodriguez, Jr. Juan Santacoloma, Jorge Yinat

Healthcare

The VLAB Healthcare Committee examines the health of Latino communities across Virginia and works to craft recommendations and policies that are sensitive to the needs and concerns of those communities. By working with health providers, and federal, state, and local partners, the committee promotes policies and practices that address the need to increase the numbers of insured Latinos and to encourage preventive health.  

Chair: J. Michael Martinez de Andino

Members: Cecilia Barbosa, Sergio Rimola, Mercedes Santos-Bell, Cecilia Williams


Civic Engagement

The VLAB Civic Engagement Committee examines strategies for strengthening relationships between Latino communities and all Virginians.  The committee promotes practices that are central to civic participation, including voting and voter registration, leadership, and service on state boards and commissions.  The committee also works with community partners to improve communication among Latino communities and state government and to raise awareness about issues of importance to Latino communities. 

Chair: Carolina Espinal

Members: Julio Cesar Idrobo, Louisa Meruvia, Diana Vall-llobera