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Commissioners

Ernestor

Ernestor De La Rosa,
 Commissioner
Dodge City, Kansas
Term expires - 6/30/2023
Email:  [email protected]

Like many rural leaders, Ernestor wears many hats. In his day job, he oversees the City’s Public Transportation and Human Resources Departments and serves as the City’s Legislative Affairs Director. He also coordinates the efforts of the Southwest Kansas Coalition and facilitates the Complete Count Committee for the Census 2020 efforts in Dodge City and Ford County. Governor Laura Kelly appointed Ernestor to serve on the Kansas Racial Equity and Justice Commission, representing the City of Dodge City.  Ernestor was born and raised in Mexico, immigrated to the United States at the age of 13, and is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient.

Mary Lou Jaramillo 02


Mary Lou Jaramillo,
 Commissioner
Merriam, Kansas
Term expires - 6/30/2023
Email: [email protected]

Community service is a passion of Mary Lou Jaramillo.  She credits her parents and family for modeling acts of kindness, integrity, perseverance and optimism, especially within the Latino community of Topeka, Kansas.  Sons, Miguel and Carlos Jaramillo, are the anchors in her life.  
Ms. Jaramillo held leadership roles at El Centro, Inc. (2007-2013), the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation (2006) and the Mattie Rhodes Center (1994-2005).  In a consulting role (2014-2017), Ms. Jaramillo worked with Olathe civic leaders to develop initiatives to help Olathe become a more welcoming community for all Latinos. Prior to these roles Ms. Jaramillo was an executive assistant for the Minority Supplier Development Council (1986-1992). In these roles Ms. Jaramillo worked with associates, board members and community volunteers to develop programs for underserved communities addressing health and mental healthcare, early childhood education, business development, arts & culture and civic engagement.  
Community volunteer service is important to Ms. Jaramillo.  MANA de Kansas City, a Latina Organization, had a profound impact on Ms. Jaramillo’s development.  The organization’s mission was to provide professional and personal development through volunteer service.  MANA members raised funds for scholarships, mentored young Latinas, organized professional development conferences and celebrated Latino culture.  
Ms. Jaramillo was a founding board member of the Health Forward Foundation (2003-2010), a foundation that works to transform communities so everyone has an opportunity for better health and Cristo Rey High School (2005 – 2010) a Catholic college prep education with an innovative work study program.  Currently Ms. Jaramillo serves on the boards of the Kansas Leadership Center based in Wichita, Kansas, the Francis Family Foundation, and the League of Women Voters of Johnson County.   
Ms. Jaramillo holds a Masters of Public Administration in NonProfit Leadership and a Bachelor of Business degree in Management from Park University. 

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Richard Martinez, 
Commissioner
Topeka, Kansas
Term expires - 6/30/2022
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 Photo of Bertha Mendoza














Bertha Mendoza,
 Commissioner
Garden City, Kansas
Term expires - 6/30/2023
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Bertha G. Mendoza has been the EFNEP/SNAP-Ed Extension Agent for the Southwest Area Office since 2009. Bertha holds a Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education from Kansas State University and two Master Degrees from Fort Hays State University, in the area of Special Education: Adaptive Technology for students with learning disadvantages, and Advanced Education for Gifted Students.  Bertha’s special fields of interest are education, nutrition and health.  She believes in the value of creating community partnerships and actively pursues collaboration as a way to address important community concerns. Bertha was born in Chihuahua, Mexico; she came to the United States in 1993. She lives in Holcomb, and has worked for education for the last fifteen years in the areas of adult and family literacy and currently serves in the fields of Nutrition, Health and Adult Education for low income audiences.

 

Veronica


Veronica Padilla,
 Commissioner
Topeka, Kansas
Term expires - 6/30/2023
Email: [email protected]

Most of Veronicas’ work career has been in sales, Restaurant supplies and kitchen design along with home building estimator.  Veronica concluded her Sales career as  a Sales Exec position with the Topeka Capital Journal.  She is married to Michael A Padilla and has 2 children and 5 grandsons. 
Veronica is currently a Community Volunteer and advocate and is honored that she was  selected to the KHLAAC commissioners board.  Veronica is Past National Chair of MANA, A National Latina organization  and current MANA Action Fund National Treasurer; Board member of MANA De Topeka,  Kansas LULAC Deputy director For the Elderly;  La Colonia Board President, Midland Care board member, Patient advocate board of Stormont Vail.  Greater Topeka Partnership Foundation Board, Greater Topeka Chamber Board member and currently sits on the Editorial board of the Topeka Capital Journal. 
 

 



 


Monica Vargas

Monica Vargas,
 Commissioner
Wichita, Kansas
Term expires - 6/30/2023
Email: [email protected]

After losing her father at the age of 12, Monica was raised by a single mother and earned her law degree in her native Colombia, where she practiced law and worked in the public service for a national watchdog agency. After moving to the U.S. in 2012 with a “broken English,” as she defines it, she earned a Master of Laws Degree from the University of Connecticut and obtained her license as an attorney practicing immigration law. Monica also holds a Masters' Degree in Government and Public Policy and has more than 15 years of experience working in public service with Labor Unions, non-profit organizations, and grassroots around the U.S. advocating for immigrants, low-income families, and previously, for victims of the civil war in Colombia. 

Currently, Monica Vargas-Huertas is the Political and Community Outreach Director of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), District Union Local Two, a role which allows her to lead civic engagement and political campaigns as well as advocating and implementing programs aimed to solve social issues affecting the lives of 17,000 essential workers in the meatpacking, food processing and retail industries in the states of Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. She also serves as Commissioner of the Kansas Hispanic and Latino Affairs Commission, and at the Board of Directors of Prairie Roots Kansas.

Arely



Arely Navarrete Velazquez,
 Commissioner
Park City, Kansas 
Term expires - 6/30/2022
Email:  [email protected]

Arely Navarrete Velazquez was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and grew up in Northwest Kansas, raised by immigrant parents. Her parents' honourable example of passion and work ethic in the face of hardship helped her overcome the barriers that came with having limited resources to reach a college degree.

Arely received an associate's degree from Garden City Community College and a dual bachelor's degree in Political Science and Spanish from Wichita State University. At Wichita State, she helped re-established the Kappa Delta Chi Chapter, served on the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, represented the Liberal Arts & Science as a Senator for the WSU Student Government Association, and served as an ambassador of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Arely held three internship positions in Washington, D.C., including representing the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) as a U.S. Senator intern for Sen. Claire McCaskill, as a research and development intern for Voto Latino, and as a U.S. House of Representatives intern for Rep. Adriano Espaillat.

After college, Arely worked as the Program Coordinator for the Hispanic Association of College and Universities (HACU) and as the Program Officer for the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association (NMSHSA). Arely is currently in the WSU MBA program and works for Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters as their Special Projects Coordinator. Arely is an active Kappa Delta Chi Alumnae, where she continues to advocate for higher education.