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 post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

Confidence in Congress fell to the lowest on record this summer, ten percent.  Less than a decade ago about half of Americans approved of Congress, but today approval is barely in the teens.

The general American public disapproves of Congress, with little distinction across party lines.  But is this disapproval unfair, because those of us who don’t hold elected office just don’t understand how hard governing is?

Well, according to governors, a group that knows a thing or two about elected office, Congress does provide cause for disapproval.  Last week at the National Governor’s Association meeting governors, in particular Republican governors, stated their disapproval of the Republican’s threat to shut down the government.

And if anyone has a right to be frustrated with Congress it’s governors.  Congress is on track for setting a record for the fewest number of bills passed.  Our pressing political problems go unaddressed because partisan gridlock has paralyzed the Senate and House of Representatives.  As such, the heavy lifting of governing falls to the local level.  Let’s take immigration for example.  The lack of federal level action has meant that states and cities have had to develop their own responses to the issue of immigration – whether it’s Arizona’s SB1070 or Maryland’s tuition assistance to undocumented students.

Day in and day out governors face the constituents who elected them and could also fire them.  Members of Congress however are spending at least half of their time in the Beltway.  Such geographical distance removes congressional leaders from real governing.  It’s one thing to grandstand on the floor of the Senate, it’s another to figure out how to keep roads repaired, universities funded, and sick children cared for. (more…)