Gov. Tom Wolf appointed a Lancaster city council member to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs.
Jaime Arroyo, 31, who was elected to city council in November and is a managing partner at local consulting firm Work Wisdom, was appointed to the commission last week. He is the only person from Lancaster on the commission.
Here is more about Arroyo and what issues he’ll be bringing to the table.
What are your thoughts on being appointed?
Overall, it feels great. It’s definitely a privilege. There were 33 members appointed across the state, and to be selected among that group was definitely an honor. I’m definitely excited to be a part of the commission and to represent very specifically Lancaster and south central Pennsylvania’s pretty cool.
You’re the only Lancastrian on this commission. What are some of the biggest issues for Latinos in this area?
One of the biggest issues we’re facing for the most part is housing. Housing is a big issue, very specifically in Lancaster city, which has a large population of Latinos. As the prices of real estate and taxes continues to rise, it’s becoming more and more unaffordable for folks to live. It’s becoming tougher for folks to stay in the community. Making it more affordable for the entire community and the Latino community that's been heavily affected by that in our area is important.
In addition to that, we’re seeing more Latinos moving to the area. More specifically, with the natural disasters in Puerto Rico, more families are coming from the island to Lancaster. This creates a strain of resources. [We] need to make sure we are able to welcome more people and we’re providing the resources they need to start over as they start a new home here.
Anything specific you want to make sure the governor’s commission, and in turn the governor, knows about that’s impacting the Latino community here?
I think the governor knows this already, but it’s more of an emphasis that the Latino community has been here for a very long time and helped create Pennsylvania. A lot of us are teachers, doctors, lawyers. My dad has worked at High Steel Structures, and so have my uncles. We contribute to a lot of the state of Pennsylvania. I think sometimes the Latino community can be overlooked sometimes when policy decisions are being made.
What made you want to get involved?
Growing up, I saw how hardworking my parents were and I saw how hard I personally was working. I remember being in banking, and none of the people that were making decisions looked like me. I wanted to make sure that in whatever I did, I was representing the community and could lend my voice to make sure their voices were being heard, especially noting the pros and cons of policy specific to the Latino community.
The biggest one comes with economic development. Economic development can be seen as a positive thing. When we’re doing that, are we taking the community into consideration? Not always has the Latino community been able to take advantage of economic opportunities and thrive. Whenever we move forward such economic development we think how is it going to impact the community that already lives here?