Iz Piedra wants lawmakers to better reflect the state they serve

Hugo Balta

Israel “Iz” Piedra (D) was successful in his bid for the New Hampshire House of Representatives, winning re-election for the Hillsborough District 9 this week. Piedra assumed office on December 5, 2018.

Piedra told NHPR one reason he decided to run again is so he can be a mentor to other young lawmakers. 

“I think it would have been a shame for me to not have taken advantage of the experience I have as an incumbent to try to continue that work and continue the momentum of more equitable representation,” he said. 

New Hampshire is becoming more diverse, and Piedra says the state’s lawmakers should better reflect the state they serve. 

The U.S. Hispanic, Latino population surpassed 60 million in 2019. In New Hampshire, Hispanics – Latinos make up 3.9% of the population (less than 80,000, 48% increase from 2010).

Hispanics, Latinos make up 2.2 percent of the electorate in the state and more than half of those people were eligible to vote on Election Day.

“There are so many needs in the Latin community and other minority communities,” said Rafael Lora, Caribbean Market co-owner in an interview with Manchester’s Ink Link. “There are so many things we need to do to help develop more opportunities for people to find new jobs, better living conditions and give a better life to our kids,” he said. “There are so many lies being told about our community, the Latin community is hard-working and respectful and they will do anything to succeed and give their kids the opportunity to succeed. That’s what matters, they have the dream and they’re willing to put in the hard work.”

During a campaign stop, Lora shared with Congressman Chris Pappas (D) that immigration reform is the most pressing issue he is hearing from his customer base as well as fellow members of the local Hispanic community.

Piedra says, growing up, his family benefitted from state and federal programs that helped them pursue educational opportunities and get good jobs. 

But he says it’s becoming much harder for families like his to put down roots in the state. 

“For working-class folks or younger folks there’s a very high barrier to entry as far as homeownership, as far as finding a school district that’s adequately funded and buying a house there and finding a good-paying job,” Piedra said.