Latino Students with Laptop

The Office of Latino Affairs connects our Latino communities with state and local government, communicating issues, needs and concerns; providing programming to eliminate barriers to success.

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Welcome to the Office of Latino Affairs

The Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs has established the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame to celebrate Latino heritage and honor Iowa's Latinos that have made ourstanding and significant cultural, political, social, and economic contributions to Iowa. Meet the First Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Honorees:

Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Honorees(Photo by Hola America News)

  • Mary Campos (Des Moines): Mentor, role model and advocate. First Latina appointed to the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, and co-chair of the Iowa Brown-Black Presidential Forum.

  • Henry Vargas (Davenport): Founding member of the Davenport Civil Rights Commission and what is now called the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs and the Office of Latino Affairs.

  • Ila Plasencia (West Des Moines): Community volunteer, organizer and activist. Served in the first Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs, Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, and many more organizations.

Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Ceremony and Reception: Saturday, October 7, 2017 at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust in Des Moines  from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (The reception is sponsored by Community 1st Credit Union)

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Contact us for more information.




According to Iowa Code Section 216A.14, the Office of Latino Affairs was established to do the following:

  • Advocate for Iowans of Latino heritage
  • Serve the needs of Iowans of Latino heritage in participating fully in the economic, social and cultural life of the state by providing assistance and coordinating the efforts of other state departments and agencies
  • Assist in the development and coordination of other public or private organizations which serve Iowans of Latino heritage
  • Inform Iowans about programs and agencies operating to assist the Latino community. 

Originally established as the governor’s Spanish-speaking task force through legislative action on April 1974. At the time its primary mission was to study the issues facing Spanish-speaking persons. The Task Force produced a report titled “Conóceme en Iowa”.

Two years later on July 1, 1976, the Sixty-sixth General Assembly approved and Governor Robert Ray signed into law the Spanish-Speaking People’s Commission. Ten years later, in 1986 , during an overall reorganization of state government the Iowa Department of Human Rights was formed, under which was placed the Spanish-Speaking People’s Commission.

In 1990, the Commission and the Division were renamed Latino Affairs. During the 2011 reorganization the Division of Latino Affairs was renamed again as the Office of Latino affairs.