03/08/2013 09:59 am ET

Latinos Gain Political Muscle, And Fund-Raisers Show How

SAN ANTONIO — On a wall in his sun-drenched, art-filled Tudor home, Henry R. Muñoz III displays a memento of his childhood: a framed protest sign proclaiming, “Texas needs $1.25 an hour minimum wage.” He carried it when he was 6 years old while riding a burro during a farm workers’ march alongside his father, a labor organizer, and the Mexican-American activist Cesar Chavez.

Today, as the chief executive of a design firm here, Mr. Muñoz is a wealthy San Antonio businessman, civic leader and patron of the arts. After helping to raise millions to re-elect President Obama, he recently acquired another title: finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the first Latino to hold the job.

Mr. Muñoz’s journey from son of a sharp-elbowed union leader to Democratic power broker is a microcosm of a larger coming-of-age story about American Hispanics, who are making their presence felt in politics as never before.

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