Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-1995
Ladislas Lazaro was the first Hispanic from Louisiana to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was born on June 5, 1872 near Ville Platte, St. Landry Parish (now Evangeline). He received his early education in both private and public schools, and attended Holy Cross College in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1894 he graduated from Louisville Medical College in Kentucky and practiced his profession in Washington, Louisiana. In addition to his medical practice, he had an interest in farming, and served as president of his parish school board for four years. He ran unopposed in his 1908 bid to the Louisiana State Senate, where he served until 1912.
In 1912 Lazaro was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and was subsequently reelected seven times. He ran unopposed in his first bid for Congress and in five of his seven subsequent elections. Lazaro took his seat on March 4, 1913, and served on the Committees on Enrolled Bills; Merchant Marine and Fisheries; and Coinage, Weights, and Measures. He continued to serve on all of these committees for the rest of his service in the U.S. House of Representatives, and in 1917, he became Chairman of the Enrolled Bills Committee. In 1919 he argued to amend and moderate the law on national prohibition before it went into effect, permitting the use of alcohol for medicinal purposes. He considered the proposed prohibition law too drastic, difficult to enforce, and resulting in disrespect for government. He died in Washington, D.C. on March 30, 1927.