This Latino Democrat wants to get 50 Latinos in Congress by 2023

When Antonio “Tony” Cárdenas told BOLD PAC, a growing Democratic Political Action Committee dedicated to increasing the diversity of leadership in the House and Senate, that he would triple the $1 million in its coffers, he was met with laughter.

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“You want to try it, do it. Go for it dude,” Cárdenas said. He ended up raising $6 million by 2016. Cárdenas, son of immigrant parents, began his political career in 1966 after leaving his engineering career. He was elected to represent California’s 39th Assembly District and won three times in a row with about 80% of the votes, becoming the first person of color to represent the district.

Cárdenas has had a significant role in shaping election races since his days in the California Assembly. In 2016, six more Latinos joined the House of Representatives thanks to the support of the Committee, including Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina to be elected to a position in the United States Senate.

Now as a Representative in Congress, Cárdenas is furiously working to increase the money BOLD PAC can contribute to Latino candidates. His new goal, to get 50 Latinos in Congress by the time he hits his 10 years, would be in 2023 if he continues to be re-elected.

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“I don’t think that’s a lofty goal. I think that’s an honest and realistic goal," he said. “But my goal wasn’t to be the first. It was to make sure I wasn’t the last,” Cárdenas told NBC News.