Trenton – Senator Nellie Pou, who serves as Majority Caucus Chair as well as Chair of the New Jersey Legislative Latino Caucus, has been installed as President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL). Senator Pou, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, will serve as the organization’s president for a two-year term.
The senator was officially installed at NHCSL’s annual meeting on Saturday in Washington, D.C. She previously served as the organization’s President-Elect, and was elected to be the incoming president in December of 2019.
“I am humbled and honored to serve the NHCSL as president, and look forward to continuing to work side by side with my fellow legislators across the country,” said Senator Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “As a legislator representing a richly diverse district in New Jersey, and as chair of our state Legislative Latino Caucus, I am proud to bring my experiences of service to a larger forum and to advocate for issues impacting the Latino community.”
Senator Pou was sworn in by Julie Chavez Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and also the granddaughter of iconic labor rights leader Cesar Chavez.
The senator also led a leadership delegation to meet personally with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House. The Vice President congratulated her for her inauguration as the NHCSL President, and the two of them spoke about Hispanic legislative priorities and joint action with the Biden administration.
“I could not be happier for Senator Nellie Pou, nor more proud for her as she ascends to this honored and critically important position as President of the NHCSL,” said New Jersey Senate President Nicholas Scutari. “Since 2006, I have had the privilege to serve with Senator Pou in the Senate and know her to be a tough, thorough and conscientious legislator, a tireless advocate for her constituents — many of them products of Latino and immigrant neighborhoods – and a valued colleague. There is no doubt in my mind that Senator Pou will bring this same work ethic to the NHCSL, and prove an assertive and visionary leader who will carry forth her duties with honor and dignity.”
Senator Pou is the first legislator from New Jersey to preside over the more than 400-member organization, which was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan nonprofit and spans 42 states as well as Puerto Rico. Its mission is to be the foremost organization serving and representing the interests of Hispanic state legislators from all states, commonwealths and territories of the United States.
“The growth of the NHCSL itself is a testament to the increasing political engagement of Hispanics across the nation,” noted Senator Pou. “Even in the context of our diversity, we all share common concerns and pressing issues, and by exchanging ideas, research and strategies we are better able to meet these challenges and effectively serve all our constituents.”
Senator Robert Menendez and Senator Cory Booker each sent along videos expressing their warmest regards and congratulatory messages. Senator Pou was also joined at the event by a number of members of the NJ Legislative Latino Caucus, as well as family and friends.
“Every one of our members is working hard to guarantee the fundamental human rights of their constituents, to ensure they have access to quality affordable health care, and that they have the opportunity to find fulfilling employment or to grow their own businesses,” added Senator Pou. “As legislators, we must continue to explore ways to help these individuals and families. The NHCSL, with its nationwide influence, must continue to play a prominent role in addressing issues that affect the greater Latino community.”