The Immediate Past State Director for LULAC Iowa was named LULAC Iowa’s “Man of the Year” by members of the organization at the 2019 LULAC Iowa State Assembly in Davenport, Iowa for his work and commitment serving as the organization’s state director from 2014 to 2018.
Michael (Mike) Reyes was born and raised in the Quad Cities and has been associated with LULAC for over 30 years. He served as Council 10 president for 6 of those years. A Vietnam era veteran, Reyes served in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1972. He studied as an industrial engineering technician at Scott Community College and retired from U.S government (Department of the Army) after 30 years of service. From 2003 – 2016 he held the position of senior program manager for Decision Sciences Inc., in charge of business development, special projects and the site manager at the Rock Island Arsenal.
As the State Director for LULAC Iowa Mike helped expand LULAC’s footprint in Iowa from 4 to 18 councils including 11 adult councils, 5 collegiate councils, and 2 youth councils which helped bring LULAC Iowa to the front in ongoing struggles for civil and social justice issues and also helped elevate civic engagement across the state. Reyes was also instrumental in establishing the Moline, Illinois LULAC Council. Reyes is also a past recipient of the National LULAC Lifetime Achievement Award & the LULAC National Presidential Award.
Even though Reyes was born and raised in the Quad Cities, he said he still learned a lot about the different Latino communities across Iowa.
“The Iowa Latino Community is much larger than I originally thought. There are a lot of similarities within each community. However, there are also unique issues within each community. We are also a very diverse community. Much more than just one Latino nationality. With the current political environment I believe LULAC is needed more than ever in Iowa. Our community is under attack from multiple fronts. We need to stay strong, speak from a united front and stand as a Civil Rights beacon to our community”
Reyes also talked about his favorite parts of being the LULAC Iowa state director.
“Meeting the people within the communities. Listening to their concerns and issues. Getting the membership to trust me as well as believe that I was an honest broker and that I would try to help whenever possible or feasible”
With Reyes now being the immediate past state director to LULAC Iowa, he shares what we can expect from him and the new executive board moving forward.
“We are a grassroots organization and that our strength resides at the council level. l will serve as mentor to the Executive Board. I am very excited about continued expansion of the LULAC footprint in Iowa. The strategies that were developed under my tenure can readily serve as a baseline for continued improvement as well as growth”
As the immediate past state director Mike will continue to be a voting member of the newly elected LULAC Iowa executive board that includes Nick Salazar as state director, Jazmin Newton as deputy state director, Toni Robertson as Treasurer, Monica Reyes as VP for women, Esteban Sanchez as VP for young adults, Antonio Cedillo as VP for youth, and Monica Vallejo as VP for elderly. Non-voting members include Joe Henry as political director, Andrew Bribriesco as legal adviser, Tar Macias as director of publicity and Daniel Salazar as secretary.