The 2020 census showed that Latinos in the state of Indiana represent 8% of the population.
According to the Indiana Latino Institute, undocumented immigrants contribute nearly $100 million to the state’s economy. Yet when it comes to their representation in the general assembly the state has a single Latino representative.
State Rep. Mike Andrade represents the 12th Congressional District in Indiana which includes the town of Munster, Highland, South Hammond, and North Griffith. In 2020, Andrade replaced State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, who was the only Latino representative in Indiana before Andrade. There is one Latino state senator.
He ran on a platform that included better pay for teachers, equitable retirement plans and appropriate funding for first responders, training programs for small business owners, living wages and job security for unions and working families, proper resources, and affordable healthcare for the senior citizens and mental health services, jobs, and housing.
Originally from the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago, Andrade is part of three committees: Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development; Employment, Labor, and Pensions; Veterans Affairs and Public Safety.
During his time representing the 12th State House District, he’s been critical of the lack of representation in his state. Andrade says it’s all about collaboration “by bringing stakeholders together and being a public servant and being a Latino in office is a good thing.”
After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Indiana became the first state to ban abortion, allowing very few exceptions to legally perform the procedure. Andrade argued before his fellow lawmakers against the bill. Andrade says banning abortion is banning access to health care for women in Indiana. “In our Hispanic communities we lack having access to health care, and this is going to put more restriction in our communities … instead of working forward we are working backwards.”
Andrade is running for re-election in District 12 against Republican Charles Kallas.
Note: This story was updated to correct a reference to the 12th State House District and to note there is a Latino state senator serving Indiana.