New York, NY —
For the first time, the New York State Senate has created a formal Puerto Rican/Latino caucus to address the needs of the state's largest minority community.
With five Puerto Rican state senators, the largest ever in the legislative body's history, Majority Leader Malcolm Smith announced that he's created a formal caucus for his Latino conference. The senators include Bronx State Senator Ruben Diaz Senior, Hiram Monserrate of Queens and Martin Malave Dilan of Brooklyn. Diaz will chair the caucus and says Smith has empowered them.
DIAZ: So this new caucus, Hispanic Puerto Rican Latin caucus, of the New York Senate will be dealing with legislation affecting the Hispanic community with the support of our leader.
The caucus, along with Smith, will be traveling to Puerto Rico this weekend to meet the island's new governor. Smith dismissed criticism that they should not leave the state during the economic crisis, saying it'll be a working event.