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 first appeared on NBCnews.com

Super Tuesday is do or die, with over a quarter of pledged delegates at stake for each party. Iowa and New Hampshire may be the electoral contests that produce viable candidates, but Super Tuesday is the kingmaker (or queenmaker this year). But beyond the electoral bulk of March 1st the primaries will give us important indicators about Latino political preferences.

Latinos in Texas are in the spotlight, but the growing role of Hispanics in other Super Tuesday states give us a sense of how the Latino voice is shaping up for the 2016 presidential election and beyond.

Texas – the 800 pound gorilla

Come November Texas (at least for now) is irrelevant because it is such a deep red state. But the Lone Star state makes up for that irrelevance in its giant footprint on Super Tuesday. Texas has the most delegates up for grabs and it is the state with the largest Latino electorate on Super Tuesday. Texas has the second largest Latino population and nearly 30 percent of the state’s eligible voters are Hispanic. (more…)

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

Texas is center stage for abortion politics, starring Wendy Davis as the leading lady and Rick Perry opposite her.

Wendy Davis’ protagonist role in the Texas abortion drama shot her to political fame.  Overnight she became a Democratic sensation – and on Thursday  gubernatorial candidate – as a result of her marathon filibuster to stop restrictive pro-choice legislation.

Governor Perry’s leading role is not a new one –  he’s starred in other abortion political dramas.  Back in 2011 he fast-tracked a sonogram abortion bill by designating it an emergency legislative priority.  This bill, now law, requires women seeking an abortion to undergo a transvaginal-ultrasound and then wait 24 hours after the procedure to have an abortion.

It’s a movie we’ve seen many times before- entrenched partisan warfare between pro-life Republicans and pro-choice Democrats.

Or is it?

Could the abortion battle lines fall somewhere else, say along gender lines?  That possibility was inadvertently suggested a couple of days ago by none other than Governor Rick Perry’s wife, Anita Perry. (more…)

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

The Lone Star state jumped into the spotlight this week – a movie-worthy filibuster by Wendy Davis, a flood of demonstrators taking to the capitol, and a ramped up war of words between Texas Republicans and Democrats.

At the root of all of this drama is a Republican sponsored abortion bill.  If passed, the bill would make Texas one of the most restrictive states by outlawing abortions beyond twenty weeks of fertilization, decreasing the number of abortion clinics from thirty-seven to five because of prohibitively costly building requirements, and tightening the guidelines for the administration of abortion drugs.

The restrictions on abortions are just the latest in a series of measures shrinking the availability of healthcare for women in Texas.  In 2011 the Texas legislature pulled funding from any clinics that had ties to abortion services or providers, even though public monies would not go to funding such procedures.  The 2011 legislature also went a step further by cutting the funding of non-abortion affiliated clinics.  These measures ended up closing 56 of the 117 women’s health clinics around the state, clinics that were the most likely to provide well-women care to low-income women.

Then, to add icing to the cake, Governor Rick Perry has rejected additional Medicaid funds under Obamacare.  In other words, the state of Texas has decreased the availability of healthcare options for women while making these fewer options more costly for lower income women.

Texas has become the latest battleground on the larger Republican War on Women.   However, because of the state’s demographics Latinas are disproportionately in the cross-hairs of this war. (more…)