Baca clings to Hispanic caucus leadership

first_imgWASHINGTON – The chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, embroiled in an internal power struggle, said for the first time Thursday that he would support changes in the way the caucus is run. But Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, insisted after a caucus meeting that he alone will remain the chairman. Some of his critics have been aiming to oust him or force him to agree to a power-sharing agreement that would set up three chairmanships. “There won’t be any more chairmans. There definitely will not be any more chairmans. There will only be one chairman,” said Baca, who survived a confidence vote earlier in the week. He said he would back structural reforms to de-emphasize seniority and give more authority to newer members, but he declined to specify other changes he might support, saying details hadn’t been determined. The caucus is to meet again on the issue next week. “There’s no more about no coups, no takeovers, no nothing like that,” Baca added. “Now it’s about constructive recommendations to make the caucus better and more of a democracy in its participation. And those are the constructive things that we need.” Baca has been accused by fellow Southern California Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez of calling her a “whore.” He denied it, but Sanchez quit the group, and several other members came forward with complaints about Baca’s leadership style and an atmosphere that undermines women. Baca was supported by only one of six women in the 21-member, all-Democratic group when he was elected chairman in November. Sanchez reiterated Thursday that she would not rejoin the caucus if Baca is chairman. “I will not join as long as he’s there,” she said. “I’d love to have her rejoin,” said Baca. Several members said everyone in the caucus is sick of the controversy that’s enveloped them for more than a month just as they should be more influential than ever with Democrats in control of Congress, immigration reform at the forefront of the national agenda and the country’s Hispanic population growing quickly.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more