WAPPINGERS FALLS – The Latino Democrats of Dutchess County hosted their “Latino Leaders Awards Luncheon” on Sunday at Cafe Con Leche. State Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James gave the keynote address to a standing-room only crowd.
The organization stands by its mission, created in 2012, which is to enhance the lives of Latinos in Dutchess County through political empowerment, increase Latino voter registration, political awareness, involvement in government, education, and community issues; build coalitions; and development of political strength.
Attendees, including elected officials and candidates listened as Attorney General James rallied the crowd to get involved and stay involved in all levels of government, to protect the rights of Latinos.
James recognized the contributions of Latino educators in the room for their efforts to continue teaching during the pandemic and also addressed several other accomplishments of her office that she says were made on behalf of all New Yorkers, not just Democrats.
“Politics stops at the door of the New York State Attorney General,” she said, when referencing the investigation into former Governor Cuomo. “As you all know, I’ve never shied away from a big fight,” said the state’s chief litigator. “I had a job to do so I put my head down and did my job,” she said, noting that she was motivated because she was concerned about “young women who entered public service to make a difference in the lives of others and unfortunately found themselves in a toxic environment and it was important to speak their truths.”
Dutchess County Legislator Giancarlo Llaverias, the highest ranking elected Latino in the county, spoke to the heritage of those in the room. “Latinos, like our black brothers and sisters, are the unsung heroes of this country. We are Latino – we are the people that feed America. From harvesting vegetables and fruits to preparing the food, no matter what restaurant you go to, there are Latinos in the kitchen,” he said while encouraging the guests to celebrate their Latino heritage with pride.
Latino Democrats of Dutchess County co-founder and one of Sunday’s honorees, Joe Torres, lauded the presence of Attorney General James. “We were excited to receive the AG and have her celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of the Latino community and it’s community leaders. She is an inspiration for everyone and is passionate about building communities through engagement and inclusion,” he said. “I was very impressed with how education and safety of everyone are on her list of priorities.”