Reps. Aguilar and Ruiz Honor Inland Empire Giant & IEFLP Founder Dr. Tom Rivera on House Floor
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31) and Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36) honored the life of Dr. Tom Rivera, longtime educator, administrator and community advocate, on the floor of the House of Representatives. In 1985, Dr. Rivera and fellow educators founded the Inland Empire Future Leaders Program (IEFLP) to address high drop-out rates of Hispanic youth in the Inland Empire. Reps. Aguilar and Ruiz, both graduates of the program, paid tribute to Dr. Rivera, who passed away on March 8, 2022.
“For more than fifty years, Dr. Tom Rivera served our community as an educator, administrator and community leader,” Rep. Aguilar said in his speech. “Dr. Tom gave working class kids like me a chance to make a better life for ourselves and our families.”
“I stand here today because of Dr. Tom,” Rep. Ruiz said. “I am forever indebted to Dr. Tom for his unyielding devotion to my growth and the success of my peers. He was always there to motivate us, to celebrate us, and to give us a smile when we needed it most. He gave us a family – a familia – in which we found reassurance and strength.”
You can watch Reps. Aguilar and Ruiz’s speeches here.
Over the past thirty-eight years, IEFLP has provided summer leadership development conferences for almost 4,500 Latino eighth- and ninth-grade students from throughout the Inland Empire.
IEFLP has had tremendous success, leading 99% of Future Leaders to graduate from high school and 90% to attend college. What’s more, most participants graduate in the top 15% of their senior class.
Rep. Aguilar serves as the Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, the Committee on House Administration and the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.