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Objective. This article uses a political empowerment approach to explore the effect that descriptive representation in legislatures has on levels of political alienation among Latinos.

Methods. Using data from the 1997 Tomás Rivera Policy Institute post-election survey carried out in California and Texas, supplemented with data on the ethnicity of legislators serving each respondent, we test this political empowerment thesis.

Results. The presence of Latino representatives in the state assembly, state senate, and/or U.S. House is associated with lower levels of political alienation among Latino constituents. The effect is modest, and we find that other factors—demographic, political, and ethnic-specific—also exert powerful influences on levels of political alienation among Latinos.

Conclusions. Although finding modest evidence for the political empowerment thesis, descriptive representation alone is not a panacea for creating politically engaged personas among Latinos.