Latinas are an emerging force in Orange County politics, as evidenced by City Councilman Mike Ross’ election as county supervisor Tuesday.
County Supervisor John Moorlach, a Democrat, won the supervisor’s race Tuesday after a heated campaign between him and Ladera Ranch resident Mike Ross, a Republican.
Ross lost the race for the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2014, but then captured the county supervisor’s race in 2016, making Moorlach the first Latino to hold the job.
“I feel like I will be able to impact the lives of the people of Orange County, and hopefully that’s something that will happen for many years to come,” Moorlach told The Bee.
Ross was one of five Latino candidates that appeared on the ballot for the supervisor’s race.
More than half of the supervisors in Los Angeles County were Latino, including candidates in the City of Los Angeles and School Board races.
“To win the supervisor’s race, you’ve got to have a majority of the Latino vote,” Moorlach said. “I think it’s going to be that much harder to get it than it was before.”
The race for the school board has already been a referendum on immigration in Orange County and the nation – in the wake of a federal court ruling earlier this year that allowed the federal government to keep families who have been in the country for years out of detention centers.
The court decision also allows for the indefinite detention of children whose parents are facing deportation. The ruling sparked national protests in support of immigrants and drew criticism from the president.
But Moorlach dismissed those concerns.
“I don’t think there are going to be a lot of people coming to the schools to be educated,” he said. “What I think is going to happen is there are going to be a lot of people who are going to be impacted by this type of decision.”
As for those who have come from other countries, Moorlach said he isn’t concerned about their citizenship.
“Most of them are doing what most people do; they’re trying to make their situations work and they’re trying to adjust to this new reality,” he said.
But Moorlach said many Latino immigrants come to the United States “to build a better life for their families. They’re not bringing drugs or guns to the United States – they’re bringing families