Eva Longoria has taken her career in entertainment behind the camera as executive producer of the Lifetime hit Devious Maids. She’s also working behind the scenes in politics, as co-founder of the Latino Victory Project and the Latino Victory PAC.
Leading the groups alongside businessman and Democratic National Committee finance chairman Henry R. Munoz III, Longoria is poised to become a major influence in upcoming elections, focused on “a pro-Latino agenda and values.” That includes issues like immigration, healthcare and the economy. She is also focused on getting more Latinas in office.
Longoria has been vocal in her support of President Obama, telling The Hollywood Reporter back in 2012, “The big picture is that people need to stop looking at the Latino community as us vs. them. The Latino community is American; its concerns are the same. The economy is the No. 1 issue, second is education, then health care, and immigration falls fourth or fifth.”
Just as important, she realizes the power that her celebrity has. She also has a sense of how to use that to maximize the impact she can have.
In that same article she says:
As a celebrity, I have a way to reach people, but you need to be authentic. If you are just there for the photo op, it’s going to show. I have been fighting the fight. In my involvement with Eva’s Heroes, which works with kids with special needs, there was a huge budget cut on the table in Texas for group homes and kids with special needs. We protested at the Texas Capitol and got them to stop the cuts. I did a documentary, Harvest, on child labor in agriculture as a political tool to help push the Care Act forward to get children out of the field. They are the only ones not protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
She shows up, she put in the work and she knows the issues. And she has valuable insight. For instance, the organization has a program called “The Firsts” for those who are the first to reach “educational and professional milestones” among their families and communities. As a Latina, I know firsthand how significant being “the first” is for so many. This is just the sort of program that will engage people in all the right ways.
She told The Washington Post more recently that she aims to build on the momentum of her 2012 activism. With demographics changing such that Hispanics are growing in number and potential political power, her ability to rally the community to the polls could make her fast friends with lots of politicians running for office. WaPo says 11 million Latinos voted in 2012, but 12 million did not. If she can get a portion of that 12 million to head to the ballot box, it would be significant. Moreover, Latinos in this country could make up 30 percent of the population in just a few decades.
Already, Longoria and the Latino Victory Project have thrown its support behind former Florida Governor Charlie Christ, who is running for his old job. They’re also supporting a number of other candidates as well, including Rep. Pete Gallegos (TX) and Amanda Renteria, a Congressional candidate in California.