Latinos’ Conservative Liaison Mario Lopez: LI Graduate of the Week

February 13, 2012 | By Lauren Hart

Mario Lopez has a top-notch resume:  U.S. House of Representatives’ Congressional Hispanic Conference former executive director; the Republican National Committee’s Hispanic Advisory Board member; George W. Bush administration’s presidential appointee; House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. J.C. Watts’ deputy director of coalitions and outreach; and California and Virginia campaigns staffer.

Mario’s most recent achievement was founding, in April 2008, the Hispanic Leadership Fund, where he currently serves as president. This group is the first non-partisan, national Latino advocacy organization run by political and public policy professionals that promotes limited government, individual liberty, and free enterprise.  

“I make sure that we are developing in a way that furthers our goal of expanding the conservative base to include more Latinos,” Mario explained.

“The Leadership Institute helped me gain a foot into the door in Washington by helping with job searches and career development, and LI continues to help me guide our organization to new heights,” Mario said.  “I am a lifelong conservative and have always been passionate about making sure that the free enterprise, limited government message reaches new audiences.  The Leadership Institute has helped me carry out that mission through the Hispanic Leadership Fund.”

Before founding the Hispanic Leadership Fund, Mario was tapped to serve as executive director of the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Hispanic Conference, where he served as liaison to the White House, executive branch agencies, the private sector, and public policy groups.

This group comprised of between eight and 16 Members of Congress who together promoted legislation and policy that sought to foster Hispanic prosperity through free enterprise and traditional values.  

House Republican Conference Coalitions and Outreach Director Rick Manning said in October 2009, “Mario understands the big picture, and he is extraordinary at translating that understanding to action.  It is just a matter of time before Mario is one of the most influential people in Republican politics.” 

Just two-and-a-half years later, influence marks Mario.  

Just last month, the Hispanic Leadership Fund was permitted to intervene as a defendant in U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission.  After the U.S. District Court’s DC decision, Mario’s defense challenged the FEC’s donor disclosure rules to protect First Amendment rights.

Mario said, “We are glad that the Hispanic Leadership Fund can be at the forefront of protecting the First Amendment rights of our members and all who seek to inform the American public about political candidates and their positions on issues.  We will continue to oppose liberal attempts to force federal courts to impose rules restricting free speech. ”

Mario has taken seven LI trainings, including the High-Dollar Fundraising School, Online Fundraising Workshop, Introduction to TV Techniques, On-Camera TV Workshop, Blogging Workshop, and Campaign Management School.

“The points I learned during the TV training in particular always stick in my mind every time I do an on-camera media interview,” Mario said.  “The trainers did a wonderful job instilling the sometimes subtle, but always crucial points on how to make sure you are communicating effectively with the audience, and how to deal with the sometimes intimidating world of live television.”

Mario has appeared in numerous English and Spanish language print, television, radio, and online outlets, and been quoted by  Fox News, the Washington Post, the Weekly Standard, and Terra Colombia – to name just a few media outlets.

Mario is a graduate of The Fund for American Studies’ Institute on Political Journalism and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of San Diego. He performed graduate work at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in both political science and the Master of Professional Writing programs.

“One thing that has always stood out to me is Morton’s Laws of the Public Policy Process.  I’ve read those points a few dozen times over the years, and it is always interesting just how many times I’ve been dealing with an issue or making a decision about what course of action to take.  Inevitably, one or more of the laws always apply.  The Laws of the Public Policy Process shed a succinct light on how to succeed in politics and public policy,” Mario said.

“The training provided by the Leadership Institute is invaluable,” Mario said.  “LI training provokes thought, open doors, and makes sure you are prepared to win, and win the right way.  Even folks with experience will always end up with important takeaways.”

Mario shares his expertise as a faculty member at LI’s Campaign Management Schools.

You too can take the same TV training Mario did and attend LI’s Future Candidate School.

To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.