In 2013, Rob Barron became aware that no Latino had ever been elected to sit on the Polk County school board. He recalled his father’s attempt to win a city council seat on the east side of Des Moines in 1979. Rob knew the deck was stacked against him. But he believed if he could win—if he could win this one race—it would be the first step to getting a seat at the table. In 2013, victory prevailed, and Rob became the first Latino to win election to the Des Moines School Board.
Shortly after Rob’s victory, the messages started trickling out to other Latinos looking to run for office. These people didn’t know where to start, or who to talk to. And so, Rob hatched a plan larger than his one seat. He enlisted his friend and colleague Omar Padilla.
In 2015, The Latino Political Network was born. It came together out of a desire to educate and empower Latino aspiring elected officials across Iowa. The official kick off drew more than thirty Latinos from ten communities. Since its start, LPN has been dedicated to teaching Latinos how to build a campaign.
From there, the Latino Political Network has strived to offer training and mentorship. The goal: to shave the top off the learning curve for Latino candidates. LPN has maintained a commitment to move its events around Iowa and offer its programming free of charge to make it easy for Latinos to take part.