Puerto Rico-born Nellie Gorbea’s first run for political office in Rhode Island was not only a personal triumph but it also was historic for Hispanics in New England. Running as a Democrat, she won the secretary of state contest November 4 by a wide margin and became the first Hispanic ever elected to a statewide position in New England.
Although her race was overshadowed by the contest for governor, Gorbea, a 47-year-old mother of three girls, received the most votes of anyone on the ballot, being endorsed by 60 percent of the voters and racking up a 62,000 vote margin over Republican John Carlevale.
In addition, Gorbea’s campaign drew national attention and support from Latino and female advocacy groups like EMILY’s List. Her victory established her as a rising star for a party that …