8 Notable HSI Alumni in Congress

As some of the most outspoken advocates among college graduates, many HSI alumni go on to do important work that is not just intellectual but also political. Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up features 8 notable HSI alumni who currently work in Congress. Do any of them represent your congressional district?

1.) Ileana Ros-Lehtinen


An alumni from Florida International University, Ros-Lehtinen became the first Cuban American and Latina to be elected to Congress in 1989. She is currently the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 27th congressional district. She was the first Republican woman elected to the House from Florida, and she is the most senior Republican woman in the House of Representatives.

2.) Jim Costa

JimCosta  fresno

Costa, born and raised on a dairy farm in Fresno’s Kearney Park area, is a third-generation family farmer who graduated in 1974 from California State-Fresno. He is a member of the Democratic Party and has been the U.S. Representative for California’s 16th congressional district since 2004. His district is very compact and includes Fresno and Merced residents. Due to his experience of living on a dairy farm, Costa advocates for the Valley’s fair share of water, agriculture, and the economy.

3.) Luis V. Gutiérrez

luis gu neiu2

A graduate from Northeastern Illinois University, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez has been a U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 4th congressional district since 1992. He played a very important role in advocating for executive action alongside President Obama in order to provide deportation relief to long-term undocumented immigrants and their families. Gutiérrez advocated strongly for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects child immigrants brought to the U.S. from deportation. He has also worked with immigrants in Chicago and around the country to apply for the deportation protections to keep families together.

4.) Lucille Roybal-Allard

Roybal-Allard_feature-770x434  calistate

Roybal-Allard was the first Mexican-American woman elected into Congress in 1992. She was born in Boyle Heights, California and graduated from California State University-Los Angeles. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, she has worked endlessly to create jobs, improve health services, and create better educational opportunities for California’s 40th congressional district. She also ranks as one of the top-level supporters of immigration reform, labor unions, veterans, rights of women and children, and homeland security.

5.) Maxine Waters

Maxine Waters calistate

Maxine Waters, the U.S. Representative for California’s 43rd congressional district, is another notable alum from California State University-Los Angeles. The fifth of 13 children, she began working in a segregated restaurant at the age of 13, and after graduating high school at 18, she married and had two children. Her family decided to move to Los Angeles where she found work in a garment factory. After that, she was hired as an assistant teacher at a Head Start program. She later attended California State University-Los Angeles and graduated with a degree in sociology in 1970. She is known for her fearless and outspoken advocacy for women, children, poverty, and people of color.

6.) José E. Serrano

jose  lehman

Born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Serrano migrated to the U.S with his family and moved to the Bronx. After graduating from Lehman College, he served in the U.S. Army medical corps. Serrano represents the 15th congressional district of New York in the Bronx and oversees the budgets of multiple agencies, including the Treasury Department and many more. He is also affiliated with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and served as Chair from 1993-1994. He is the most senior member of Puerto Rican descent in Congress.

 7.) Rubén Hinojosa

Rubengu panamerican

A democrat since 1997, Hinojosa serves as the representative for Texas’s 15th congressional district, which stretches from the Rio Grande Valley to Guadalupe County, southeast of San Antonio. He received his master’s from University of Texas-Pan American after receiving a B.A. in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin. Hinojosa was the president and chief financial officer of his family’s food slaughter company, H&H Foods, for 20 years. In 1987, the U.S. Small Business Administration named the Hinojosas “Minority Entrepreneur of the Year.” In Congress, Hinojosa is known as a strong advocate for the disadvantaged, education, housing and economic development.

8.) Bobby L. Rush

rush bobby uic

In 1973, Rush earned his B.A. with honors from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He went on to pursue his master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1974. Rush has been a democrat working as the U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 1st Congressional District since 1993. His district is located on the south side of Chicago, which has a 65% population of African-Americans, making it the highest populated African-American congressional district in the nation. Rush is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and is best known for being the only person to defeat President Obama during the 2000 Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District. His passions include focusing on the importance of low- and middle-income families and communities, supporting small businesses, and adequate healthcare for all.

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