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 NBCNews.com

Marco Rubio has thrown his hat in the ring for the Senate race that just a couple of days ago he shunned. He enters the race a front-runner, but just barely. The obstacles that face him are not just numerous but messy.

The fact that Rubio has changed his mind and decided to run for the Senate instead of becoming a private citizen is not surprising. He is a political animal with the highest of political ambitions — his run for the presidency a case in point. And add to that a hard sell by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and fellow GOP colleagues to stay on.

There’s no question as to the motivation for Rubio to seek out a second chance. The question is whether Florida voters are willing to give him a do-over. And in deciding that, here are a couple of questions Floridians will have to ask themselves:

Are we just a consolation prize? (more…)

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This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

Arizona is a red state. The Governor and the legislature is Republican, very Republican, and the state’s congressional delegation is dominated by the GOP. Let’s just say that when I come home to visit my folks in Southern Arizona I don’t see a whole bunch of Obama 2012 stickers. Nevertheless the Obama campaign has bet big on the growing Latino population and declared “game on” in the Grand Canyon state. The President together with the Democratic National Committee is relying on a large dose of optimism, the belief that Arizona Latinos will mobilize in reaction to recent anti-immigrant policies, and that Rich Carmona’s Senate bid will energize Latinos and attract non-Latino moderates.

Winning statewide office as a Democrat in Arizona is no easy feat. However, it can be done and if someone can do it its Richard Carmona. He pulled himself up by his bootstraps, military bootstraps, to be exact. Carmona grew up poor with parents who had substance abuse problems. He dropped out of high school but then enrolled in the military where he became a combat decorated soldier having been a Green Beret and medic in the Vietnam War. Upon return from Vietnam Carmona completed college and went on to become a prestigious surgeon that in his spare time served in the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. Then, in 2002 under George W. Bush he was nominated and unanimously confirmed as Surgeon General.

Richard Carmona is a dream candidate, but the electoral reality of Arizona is difficult if not nightmarish from the Democratic standpoint. In the 2008 presidential election Barack Obama received the majority of the Latino vote but only 40 percent of the white vote. And in the 2010 mid-term election Senator John McCain received two-thirds of the white vote. White voters, who make up well over three-quarters of the electorate, vote Republican. What the last two elections highlight is that while Latinos may be the state’s fastest growing population, they make up fewer than one in five voters. (more…)