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In the Media: UNC alumnus Ricky Hurtado is first Latinx Democrat elected to N.C. General Assembly

The election of Ricky Hurtado, co-executive director and co-founder of LatinxEd, to the North Carolina Legislature was featured in profiles by The News & Observer of Raleigh and The Daily Tar Heel.

Hurtado was elected — by a 477-vote margin — in November to the state House of Representatives, representing District 63 in the eastern half of Alamance County. Hurtado becomes the first Latino Democrat elected to the General Assembly.

Working with School of Education alumna Elaine Townsend Utin (’12 B.A.Ed.), Hurtado co-founded LatinxEd, a program housed at the School of Education that works to encourage and support Latinx students’ ambitions to go to college. He also works as an adjunct instructor at the School.

The two newspaper profiles describe Hurtado’s background as the son of parents who fled the civil war in El Salvador in the 1980s. His family moved to Sanford, North Carolina, when he was 7. He came to UNC-Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar, graduating in 2011 with a degree in business administration. Hurtado then earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Princeton University. He now lives in Mebane in Alamance County.

Hurtado told the N&O about his decision to run for office: “I began to ask myself, why not me?”

He told the newspaper he didn’t expect to be the only Latino in the General Assembly for much longer:

“I think we are seeing a moment here in North Carolina that it’s time, in terms of a new generation of folks — the children of immigrants who have seen the struggles of their parents,” he said. “The barrier has finally been shattered.”

Hurtado told the newspaper that among the issues he plans to pursue are funding and resources for public education, particularly in the wake of recent action in the Leandro school funding case.

The paper added:

He said he wants to make sure the legislature is “thinking about how we make a community college system and four-year system work for working, Latino families.”

Hurtado told The Daily Tar Heel:

“More than anything, I’ve been humbled by this moment,” Hurtado said. “We’ve done something that no Latino Democrat has ever done in North Carolina, and with someone that is truly from the community, a huge hurdle, a huge glass ceiling has finally been broken.”