Kansas notable latinos
Feleciano, Paul (1942-). Democrat Paul Feliciano was elected in 1976 to the Kansas Senate, where he served for 28 years, after being in the House of Representatives for
3 years. In 2003 he resigned from the Senate to serve on the Kansas Parole Board. Born
in 1942 in New York City, Feleciano graduated with an applied arts and science degree in petroleum geology from the New York City Community College. He served in the U.S. Air Force, and he is a longtime resident of Wichita, Kansas. Feleciano is CEO and president of Global One Technologies Ltd., and he has served two terms as president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.
Goico, Mario (1945-). Cuban-born Mario Goico is a Republican member of the Kansas State House of Representatives, representing Kansas’s District 100. He was elected to his first term in 2003. Prior to running for office, Goico was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and in the Air National Guard, where he obtained the rank of colonel. Goico served in the Desert Shield-Desert Storm War. An engineer who spent 20 years with Boeing in Wichita, Kansas, Goico also worked for Boeing and Cessna as a part-time test pilot.
Torrez, Mike (1946-). A major league baseball player born in Topeka, Kansas, Mr. Torrez is well known for playing for both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.
Ruiz, Richard (1950-). A Kansas leader, activist, businessman, and cofounder and longtime executive director of El Centro Inc., Ruiz was born and raised in Kansas City. He graduated from Rosedale High School and, after years as the executive director of El Centro, graduated with an executive master’s in business administration from Rockhurst University. He was also a member of the Kansas City Council from 1984 to 1992, and vice-mayor of that city from 1988 to 1991. He received the Ohtli Award from the Mexican government for his lifelong dedication to Mexican communities in the United States.
Ruiz, Louis (1953-). Louis Ruiz was elected in 2004 to the Kansas state legislature for the 32nd District. He is the first Latino from Kansas City to be elected to the State House of Representatives. Ruiz was born in Wyandotte County, in metropolitan Kansas City, where his family had resided for three generations. Ruiz made a career initially as a technical apprentice and then as a manager at Lucent Technologies. Active in the Communication Workers of America union, Ruiz also volunteered at a range of organizations over many years. He served as vice president of the Friends of National Public Broadcasting for two terms.
Sawyer, Tom (1958-). Tom Sawyer represents Wichita, the 95th District, in the Kansas House of Representatives as a Democrat. Sawyer was born in Wichita, and he graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. In 1987 Sawyer was elected to the Kansas state legislature, where he served as his party’s House Leader, both as a majority and a minority leader. Sawyer left the House when he won his party’s nomination to run for governor in 1998. Unsuccessful in that election, Sawyer became the state chairman of the Kansas Democratic Party until 2002, when he was elected again to the Kansas legislature. By profession an accountant, Sawyer is a small-business owner as well as an adjunct professor of political science at Butler State Community College.
Murguia, Janet (1961-). Janet Murguia was raised in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City. After receiving a law degree from the University of Kansas, Murguia worked as a legislative counsel in the U.S. Congress. She also served as a deputy assistant to the president in the White House from 1994 to 2000. In 2001 she was named
executive vice chancellor for university relations at the University of Kansas. She is the executive director of the National Council of La Raza, one of the nation’s most important Latino advocacy groups.
Garcia, Delia (1977-). In 2004 Delia Garcia became the first Latina to serve in the Kansas state legislature. She is also the youngest woman ever elected to that body. Garcia is a Democrat in the 103rd legislative District in Wichita, where she was born and raised in a family that started a restaurant. Garcia graduated from Wichita State University and obtained a master’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University, in San Antonio, Texas. Garcia is also an adjunct professor of political science at Butler County Community College.
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