Today in Nevada, former Culinary Union political director Yvanna Cancela accepted an appointment to the State Senate, filling the seat vacated by Congressman-elect Ruben Kihuen. According to the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, Cancela is the first Latina state senator in Nevada. In 2014, the White House recognized Cancela’s fight for comprehensive immigration reform with the Champion of Change award.
Cancela was instrumental in ensuring Democratic victories in Nevada this past cycle and will be a powerful force within the Nevada legislature as well. And, she has her priorities in order. In one of her first interviews as state senator, Cancela declared that her “main focus is to make Nevada a Sanctuary State and stop anything that Trump wants to implement against immigrants.”
Viridiana Vidal, State Director of Nevada’s Voice, said, “Throughout her career, Yvanna has provided a voice for many immigrants in our community. While her title has changed, her heart remains in the same place – fighting fearlessly for our families. As the first Latina in the State Senate, she will be the voice for many underrepresented Nevadans, and she will help our state keep moving forward.”
Cancela is joining other newly elected policymakers with pro-immigrant agendas and backgrounds, including Pramila Jayapal who was recently elected to the U.S. Congress from Washington and Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, the nation’s first Somali-American state legislator.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Yvanna Cancela has helped to build a political operation in Nevada that should be studied by Democrats throughout America. Culinary and their partners organize year-round, talk to union members and potential voters on an ongoing basis, and come election season focus heavily on turning out voters from diverse communities. The results speak for themselves. It is only fitting that she has moved into a position where she can continue her commitment to defending immigrant workers and families.”