"Hispanic Missourians have contributed much to Missouri's economy," Steinhoff said, referring to the 92 percent increase in the Hispanic population in Missouri between 1990 and 2000.
Created by Gov. Matt Blunt in November, 2005, the Hispanic Business, Trade and Culture Commission serves as a statewide advisory body to the Department of Economic Development, on trade and investment issues of importance and relevance to the Hispanic business community in Missouri. Pedro Pantoja is a member from Joplin.
Responsibilities of the commission include, but are not limited to, gathering and disseminating information concerning matters relevant to the economic needs of Hispanic businesses; monitoring legislative issues pertaining to the Hispanic business community; submitting recommendations concerning business development issues relevant to Hispanic Missourians; and, when appropriate, recommending legislative initiatives. The commission also helps to identify and facilitate foreign and domestic investment opportunities for companies of Hispanic origin.
Composed of not more than 15 citizen members and one ex-officio member, commissioners are selected with a view toward equitable geographic representation, with at least one member from each of the defined economic regions within the state of Missouri.
Rep. Tim Flook, Liberty is the commission chairman. Besides Pantoja, other members are: Daniel Alvarez, Cape Girardeau; Ramiro Icaza,, Jackson; Danette Felix, Jefferson City; Miguel Meneses, Kansas City; H.A. Perez, Knob Noster; Jeanette Hernandez Prenger, Parkville; Lillian Hurst; Poplar Bluff; Christa Hogan, Springfield; Al Gonzalez, St. Charles; and Jalesia (Jasha) McQueen, St. Louis.