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Hispanic Caucus Keeps Baca as Chair

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus approved a vote of confidence for Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) on Tuesday, indicating the organization intends to keep the lawmaker as its chairman for now.

According to Baca, the vote leaves the current leadership structure unchanged, rejecting suggestions from some CHC members who had hoped to replace the chairman.

“I think it was a positive meeting. … We’re all going to move forward,” Baca said. “This is basically a step in the right direction of trying to unify us.”

The California lawmaker has come under periodic fire since late last year when he won election to the chairmanship. Among the criticisms, some CHC members, including Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) — who has since left the group following an alleged personal spat with Baca — have questioned the procedures used in that election, while female lawmakers also have complained about perceived chauvinism in the group.

Baca repeatedly has asserted that the election was in compliance with the caucus’ bylaws and vigorously has defended his post in recent weeks.

“I think we healed the problems,” asserted Baca, who nonetheless refused to answer questions concerning the specifics of the Tuesday vote, including the numerical outcome.

Members of the CHC remained tight-lipped exiting the Tuesday evening meeting, continuing a tactic the lawmakers adopted following reports of disunity in the group in recent days.

In response to inquiries about the meeting, members including Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra (Calif.) and Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.) indicated, however, that discussions on the matter may still be ongoing.

“We will continue to meet,” Velázquez said.

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