Who Could Be the First Latino President of the United States?

“The first Latino President of the United States is alive today,” U.S. Congressman Luis Gutiérrez declared when I interviewed him on a Google hangout on air. I corrected him. Maybe the first Latino president is Latina. This is why: the 2010 U.S. Census confirms our community’s demographic explosion, increasing 43 percent between 2000 to 2010. By 2050, nearly 30 percent–almost one-third–of the total U.S. population will be Hispanic. Simply put, in forty years, if you’re not Latino, chances are you or someone in your family will be married to one.

That Latinas are leading the demographic boom is no surprise. We outpace our men in school and career. Additionally, we are leaders in our community and our families, in charge of a whooping 86 percent of consumer spending decisions. We also are big influencers when it comes to our vote: move over Soccer Moms. Meet Soccer Mami, a growing, powerful, and coveted voting bloc that is and will be courted by campaigns and political parties alike.

That means the road to the White House will go through the barrios, bodegas, and schools since Latino children make up 25 percent of the public school student body. Not only will we be responsible for electing each U.S. President from here on out. Soon, our nation’s chief executive will be of Hispanic descent.

Keep an eye out for these Latinos who may one day be Señor or Señora President of the United States of America:

1. Marco Rubio

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)

Since 2010, the junior Senator from Florida has been stoking the flames of a presidential run, nearly upstaging the GOP presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention. On all sides, Senator Rubio has had to fend off criticism–that his parents are not exiles from Fidel Castro but immigrated before the Revolution. He also has been under fire from the Tea Party and other hardline conservatives who denounce Rubio’s support of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration proposal. Amid the harsh national spotlight, will Rubio make a bid in 2016?

2. Susana Martinez

Goveror Susana Martinez (R-New Mexico)

The first Latina to govern a state, her support of gun rights and her crusade to block immigrants illegally in New Mexico from obtaining a driver’s license makes her popular among hardcore Republicans. As someone from Mexican descendance, she also appeals to the nation’s largest group of Hispanic immigrants. However, when I interviewed the Governor and asked if she had presidential ambitions, she laughed it off, saying she hadn’t even finished her first term. True. Some also say that as caretaker to her special needs sister, she may not want to go through the stress of campaigning and governing the country.

3. Castro Brothers

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and/or U.S. Congressman Joaquín Castro (D-TX)

Julián Castro fanned the flames of the political rumor mill when he delivered the 2012 Democratic National Convention keynote address (President Barack Obama raised his national profile in 2004 when he did the same). As Mayor of San Antonio, he is developing strong executive skills on issues ranging from the economy, early education to energy which have contributed to the city’s and his own national recognition. If the mayor doesn’t convince you, maybe his identical twin brother Joaquín will. A veteran of the Texas State legislature, he is serving his first term representing the 20th district of Texas in the U.S. Congress.

 

4. Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Texas boasts one more Latino who may have presidential ambitions. Ted Cruz has been a firebrand since he was elected in 2012 to the U.S. Senate. A darling of the Tea Party, he is blamed for last Fall’s government shutdown. Although both Democrats and GOP lawmakers criticize him, his approval ratings have soared among hardline Republican primary voters. One potential snag: Ted Cruz was born in Canada to a U.S. mother. To be safe, he denounced his Canadian citizenship. The constitution bars people who are not “natural born” citizens from becoming U.S. President.

5. George P Bush

George P. Bush

Texas is also Bush country where George P. Bush lives. He is the son of Mexican-born Columba and former Florida governor Jeb Bush–himself fielding speculation of a 2016 run. George P.­–who shares a name with two U.S. Presidents–George H.W. and George W. Bush–is gaining political experience with his first state run this year to be commissioner of the Texas General Land Office. Remember that his uncle George W. made significant gains among Latino voters nationwide. Could George P. be the Republican who puts Hispanics back in play?

6. Anna Maria Chavez

Anna Maria Chávez, Chief Executive Officer of The Girl Scouts

Anna María Chávez is the CEO of the Girl Scouts. Tasked with the controversial responsibility of modernizing the organization, she is under fire for declining cookies sales, membership, and some difficult decisions such as closing campgrounds in order to meet pension obligations. She began honing her political skills while serving in the Clinton Administration as an advisor to the U.S. Transportation Secretary. She also worked on housing and elderly commissions for the former Arizona governor Janet Napolitano before heading the Girls Scouts in Southwest Texas. Young and considered charismatic, Chávez’s executive and political skills could prepare her to lead the country.

7. Angel Taveres

Ángel Taveres, Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island

Although the Mayor of Providence in the smallest state of the union, Ángel Taveres is garnering nationwide attention with his education initiatives. Focusing on early learning and innovative ways to increase word count and literacy among deserving children, the Dominican-American has secured a grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors’ Challenge. On his watch, the national non-profit National Civic League awarded Providence with the prestigious All-American Award--the nation’s oldest community recognition honor. Before any presidential designs, Mayor Tavares has his eyes set on a higher office closer to home. He is running to be the next governor of the Ocean State.