Baker taps Hernandez to be his first Latino liaison after outcry over schools appointees

Dinora Hernandez, a newly minted attorney, has been tapped by Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) to be his first Latino liaison.

Hernandez, 27, of Hyattsville grew up in Prince George’s as the daughter of immigrants from El Salvador and was the first in her family to attend college. A political science graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, Hernandez also graduated from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich. She is a member of the Maryland bar.

Hernandez formerly worked as a legislative aide for Baker in his Annapolis office during the recent session of the General Assembly. She will be paid $70,000 a year in her new role.

The appointment is the second by a county official in recent weeks to help quell an outcry from members of the county’s growing Hispanic community about Baker’s failure to appoint a Hispanic earlier this year to a reconfigured Board of Education.

Prince George’s schools Superintendent Kevin Maxwell recently named Maritza E. Gonzalez as the system’s first diversity officer to focus on Hispanic affairs.

In recent years, the Latino population in the county’s public schools has jumped to 25 percent. Across the county, Hispanics make up most of the growth in population, and there are now more Hispanics than whites in Prince George’s. African Americans remain the majority.

Hispanics make up at least 17 percent of the county’s population of nearly 1 million and about 25 percent of the school system’s 123,000 students.

Hernandez said she hopes to meet as many of the county’s growing Hispanic community as possible, and help them become more aware of county social services and other programs.

“The issues are the same as in any community,” she said. “Education, jobs, economic development.”

Baker is also expected to name members of a task force on immigrant affairs soon.

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