New LPRAC Executive Director Pledges Active 2014 Legislative Agenda

Werner Oyanadel, LPRAC Executive Director

Long time Latino advocate Werner Oyanadel has been selected as the  Executive Director of the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission.  Oyanadel, a native of Chile who has been serving as interim director, said he is looking forward to continue the work LPRAC  has initiated over the past few years and has identified the three  major areas LPRAC will focus on during the next legislative session.

Oyanadel, who was selected after a two month selection process said, “In the past four years

our team of community leaders and staff began making use of results-based decision frameworks to


make recommendations to policymakers and have already begun to produce measurable improvements, but

there is still a lot of work to be done.  I endeavor to use my newly gained influence

in this position to find innovative ways in support of equitable educational opportunities for our children,

increase diversity in state jobs, prevent unnecessary involvement of the Latino youth

within the juvenile justice system, and promote economic development.”

Of the appointment, Governor  Dannel P. Malloy said,  “I look forward to working with Werner Oyanadel in the upcoming legislative session in our efforts to further shared goals, such as strengthening community schools to ensure that all children have access to a high quality education. I am grateful for LPRAC’s advocacy and support of issues facing Connecticut Latinos – more than 13 percent of our citizens, who continue to make resounding contributions to our state’s culture and economy.”
 LPRAC was created in 1994 by the Connecticut General Assembly.  It is a  21 member non-partisan commission which makes recommendations to the CGA and the Governor for new or enhanced policies that will foster progress in achieving health, safety, educational success, economic self-sufficiency, and end discrimination in Connecticut.
Oyanadel, has been highly visible while serving as interim director and has increased the agency’s profile, which at times has been on the state budget chopping block.  A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, he joined the commission in 2000 and has developed support from Latino elected officials around the state. 
State Senator Andres Ayala (D) Bridgeport said, “Werner is a great selection. I have had the opportunity to work with him as the interim director and it was very obvious to me that he has the passion and intelligence to lead the commission forward.”
State Representative Edwin Vargas (D) said, “Werner has the necessary experience and commitment to take LPRAC to the next level. His clear understanding of public policy will serve all our Latino communities well.”
Oyanadel said the LPRAC Agenda for the  next legislative session includes:

  • In the upcoming 2014 legislative session, LPRAC  will work on policy changes to prevent unnecessary involvement of Latino youth within the juvenile justice system in response to a recently released report released by Connecticut Voices for children – a research-based think tank – that indicates arrests for Latino students is increasing in Connecticut;
  • It will also work on education reform issues, particularly issues affecting English Language Learners (ELLs).  English Language Learners represent a large and growing part of Connecticut’s student population.  Due to the difficulties many ELL students face in an English learning environment, they are often at a greater risk of failing to complete school than their English-speaking classmates.  Therefore, LPRAC will, among other recommendations, push for the creation of a new secretary of English Language Learners Office to be housed within the Executive Branch of Government to help address, in a comprehensive manner, the unique needs of ELL students; &
  •  LPRAC will recommend policy changes to the Minority Business Set-Aside Program. Connecticut’s statute states that 25% of contracting dollars must be awarded to small business enterprises (SBEs), and 25% of contracting dollars awarded to SBEs must be awarded to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) however the set-aside appears to have been set arbitrarily without statistical determination and unfortunately the disparity study currently being prepared by the state to remedy this problem will take more than eight years to be completed.  Therefore, LPRAC, on an interim basis, until the completion of the disparity study, shall recommend legislation to:
    • Separate the state’s SBE Set-Aside Program from the MBE/WBE program.
    • On an interim basis, until completion of the Disparity Study, LPRAC recommends creating a percentage of 5 % of eligible contracting dollars as the goal (not set-aside) for Latino Business Enterprises.

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