REPUBLICAN NATIONAL HISPANIC ASSEMBLY
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL HISPANIC ASSEMBLY. The Republican National Hispanic Assembly was organized in 1970 as an official auxiliary of the national Republican party to garner the support of Hispanics for the GOP. Several factors influenced its founding. By the mid-1960s the Republican party began to broaden its appeal to Latinos across the nation. In Texas, Mexican-American Democrats organized the Viva Kennedy-Viva Johnson clubs, and John G. Tower's senatorial campaign targeted the Tejano voter for the first time in 1966. Republican Tejanos organized themselves from 1965 to 1972 as the Mexican-American Advisory Committee within the Republican party of Texas. In 1972 they formed Mexican American Republicans of Texas. In the same year, the Republican Committee to Re-elect the President approached the Raza Unida Party in an attempt to weaken Texas Democrats in both presidential and gubernatorial races. MART led to a parallel organization at the national level, the Republican National Hispanic Assembly. When George H. W. Bush headed the Republican National Committee in 1970 he initiated RNHA; Benjamin Fernandez (California) headed it. In Texas, RNHA was organized in 1970 with Louis Terrazas (San Antonio) as the first chairman. RNHA grew stronger under the leadership of Rómulo Munguía, the son of José Rómulo Munguía Torres and Carolina M. Munguía of San Antonio. In 1975 MART unsuccessfully asked the state Republican party to recognize it officially rather than the Texas RNHA as a member of the national RNHA. The Texas RNHA was recognized as its Texas state organization, a fact that MART resented. Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Hispanics in Texas enthusiastically joined RNHA because MART focused on Mexican Americans. In Texas, NRHA and MART have rarely merged on the local level, perhaps except in Dallas. Nevertheless, the membership overlaps. The assembly is organized in each state where a sizable number of Hispanics live. In 1989 Texas chapters could be found in Angleton, Arlington, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Fort Stockton, Hebbronville, Houston, Ingram, Johnson City, Kyle, McAllen, Midland, Odessa, Round Rock, San Angelo, San Antonio, and Waco. Texas state chairmen have included Sylvia Maddox (1983–84), Isaac Olivares (1990–91), and Dan Fernandez (1991–92). Sylvia Maddox is the only woman to have held the national assembly presidency. In 1992 the assembly mobilized for presidential campaigns and held an annual convention and local chapter meetings. American Hispanic, the assembly's newsletter, is published in Washington.
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Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.