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Name: Francisco Heredia

Hometown: Somerton, AZ

Current Job: National Field Director for Mi Familia Vota

CHCI Program: 2003 Summer Congressional Internship Program

CHCI Program Placement(s): Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ)

1. What motivated you to apply to the CHCI program(s), and why do you think they are important for Latino youth?

What motivated me to apply for the CHCI internship was the opportunity to expand my knowledge on how government works. It was the end of my sophomore year at Arizona State and had decided to pursue a political science degree, to which this experience fit perfectly and it contributed to what I wanted to learn more about. The internship program provided me the opportunity to experience something that few have a chance to do – see the inner workings of Congress. These programs give a kid from the fields of Somerton, AZ, the opportunity to experience the halls of Congress, something that I never thought I would do.

2. What have you been doing since you finished the CHCI program(s)?

Since 2003, I have graduated with my B.A. in political science and a certificate in American public policy and also received my M.A. in public administration from Arizona State University. I have since worked in the nonprofit sector, state and federal government, but my real passion is politics. Currently, I am the national field director for Mi Familia Vota, a national nonprofit organization that builds Latino political power through increased civic participation. I coordinate all national and statewide field activities ranging from voter registration, citizenship outreach, and currently ensuring that immigration reform passes. The organization is present in six states (AZ, CA, CO, FL, NV, TX).

Personally, I have been married for over six years to Carmen and have two young boys, Israel (age 4) and Pablo (age 2).

3. What impact did your CHCI experience have on your career and development as a leader?

The experience with CHCI opened my eyes to the type of work that I continue to be very passionate about to this day. It provided me a network of contacts with individuals from across the county that I still interact with.

4. How do you continue to give back to the community?

Community service and providing mentorship to others is very important to me. This is why I served as a mentor through Big Brothers/Big Sisters for several years, participated in local city and state boards, and volunteered through many nonprofit agencies over the years that serve the Latino community.

5. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years, and what do you still want to achieve?

I am not sure where I will be in 5-10 years, but I know that whatever I do, I will continue to do my part to ensure that Latinos have the political power to have a true seat the decision-making table. The intersection of serving my Latino community and politics is where my passion lies.

6. What advice would you give current and future CHCI participants?

My motto that I have carried within me since I was young is, “You need to have the ganas to make things happen for yourself.” This ganas, or the willingness to work hard, is crucial if you want to create real change.