Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto


Victoria is Assistant Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a contributor to MSNBC and Telemundo. Her areas of expertise in the domestic policy landscape include immigration, Latinos, women and childcare, and economic equity. more→


Victoria brings an interdisciplinary lens to understanding policy development and its intersection with institutional and political contexts. Underlying her academic work is the applicability of rigorous research to on-the-ground policy realities.

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Recent Media

This piece originally appeared on NBCnews.com

Immigration was all but absent in the last Democratic Presidential debate. Yet this debate, where Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders went mano a mano on healthcare, was by far the most relevant to Latinos.

Latinos have seen the biggest gains in coverage following the Affordable Care Act, but they remain the racial and ethnic group with the highest rate of uninsured– one third of nonelderly Latinos have neither private insurance nor Medicaid. Not surprisingly healthcare ranks as one of the most important issues for Latinos – consistently above immigration. In the 2014 Midterm election 86 percent of Latino registered voters said that healthcare was either very or extremely important to them personally while 73 percent of Latinos indicated that immigration was very or extremely important to them.

Two hours before the NBC – YouTube debate the Sanders Presidential campaign released its healthcare plan. Under a Sander’s administration the United States would have Medicare-for-All system. This single payer system would rely on increased taxes especially for the wealthiest Americans. (more…)

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

As a teacher, it is clear which students show up to class having done their homework. Last night, Mitt Romney was that student who not only did his homework, but also did the extra homework review. Hard work does pay off and in my book he gets an A+. Now, the President was like one of those students you know is bright but that showed up to the test thinking he could wing it. But winging it either in the classroom or a presidential debate doesn’t get you much more than a C+. Last night Romney not only did his homework but had the classroom behavior that any teacher loves—confidence and respect. In contrast, the President was not the star student last night, but there’s still time in the semester.

The Mitt Romney that showed up last night was the “turn around” expert. He was the kid that had the reputation of being a good student but had recently been struggling. A core part of Romney’s narrative is that he is the guy that can right the ship. He can take failing businesses or in the case of the Winter Olympics, a failing program, and bring about success. However, until last night, his turn around pitch for the economy had not gained traction. Mitt Romney not only turned around his flailing campaign at the debate, he once again made his Mr. Fix It brand a central component of this election.

The Barack Obama that showed up last night was the same that spoke to the Democratic National Committee Convention earlier this year in Charlotte. But the crucial difference is that in Charlotte, like in high school debates, the President got to tap out and sub his partner—Bill Clinton. Last night, there was no Clinton to make up for Obama’s lack of preparation.

Elections like grades are determined not just by a single homework assignment or debate. There are still two more presidential debates and one vice presidential debate to go before final grades are turned in. (more…)