Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer, the former hedge-fund manager who has steadily increased his state and national political footprint, has been named co-chairman of the Washington-based Latino Victory Fund.
With the appointment, Steyer joins another possible California gubernatorial candidate, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as a co-chairman of the group, alongside Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-Texas, and Melissa Mark-Viverito, the speaker of the New York City Council.
“In Tom, Latino Victory has found a stalwart leader and advocate who has dedicated his impressive career to improving the quality of lives of our Latino communities in California and throughout the nation,” president Cristóbal J. Alex said in a prepared statement Friday. “In addition to his work in environmental advocacy, Tom has championed initiatives to provide economic and educational opportunities for our families.”
The presidential election this year is an opportunity to boost turnout among Latino voters, including in California where Latino candidates are challenging Democratic incumbents for Congress and the state Legislature.
The victory fund supports candidates its leaders believe reflect Latino values, among them immigration reform, a higher minimum wage and actions to address global climate change. A spokesman for Steyer’s NextGen Climate reiterated Friday that he has yet to make any decisions on funding candidates here.
But he’s worked closely with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and others on climate legislation, and in recent months has taken on more forcefully matters of poverty and income inequality.
“Creating the political will for truly progressive policies requires a diverse coalition that includes Latino business, labor, and working families,” Steyer said in the statement. “I am proud to join the Latino Victory Fund to stand up for the inclusive change that will bring justice to all Americans.”