home about productions partners fw channel contact
FocusWest banner

Los Americanos: Participants and biographies


  • Liliam Lujan-Hickey is an Executive Committee member of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as well as President of the USHCC Foundation. She was born in Havana, Cuba, and has lived in Nevada for over 35 years. She owns several businesses: Lujan Development, a property management corporation; and L&H Systems, a business consulting, training, and sales company. She is now retired from her Supervisor position in the Human Resources Department, Welfare Division, for the State of Nevada.

    Lujan-Hickey was only 42 when her husband died and she was forced onto public assistance while raising her four children. She has since repaid that assistance many times over. Lujan-Hickey has held numerous leadership positions in service organizations and on governing boards. She has been President of the Latin Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas. She serves on boards for both the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts in the Las Vegas area. She was a member, and past President, of the Nevada State Board of Education and Occupational Education, the first Hispanic woman to be so selected. She started Las Vegas's Classroom on Wheels program: mobile preschool classes that travel to poor neighborhoods, serving nearly 400 kids who otherwise wouldn't have access to early education. In December 2001, the Clark County (Las Vegas) School District voted to honor her long service to education by naming a school in her honor.

  • John Phillip Santos was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Growing up, he also spent a significant amount of time across the border with family in Mexico. He earned an undergraduate degree from Notre Dame and won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England, the first Mexican-American to do so. He did additional graduate work at Yale.

    Santos has had a distinguished career as a writer for print media and as a writer/producer for television. He has written reviews, op-ed pieces, and feature articles for newspapers and magazines such as the Los Angeles Times and New York Times. He is also the author of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, a memoir of his family's Mexican-American origins that was a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award. He has written and produced over 40 documentaries on art, culture, politics, and religion for the CBS and PBS television networks. Two of his productions, "Exiles Who Never Left Home" and "From the AIDS Experience: Part I, Our Spirits to Heal/Part II, Our Humanity to Heal" earned Emmy Award nominations. He is currently working on a second book.

  • Alan K. Simpson is a former United States Senator (R-WY). He was born and raised in Cody, Wyoming. He earned a B.A. from the University of Wyoming, served as a 2nd Lieutenant during the final months of the US Army's occupation of Germany, then returned home to earn a law degree from UW. After graduation, he did a short stint as Wyoming's Assistant Attorney General before returning to Cody and joining his father's law firm.

    In 1964 he followed his father's example - governor from 1 and U.S. Senator from 1 - and entered politics. He was elected to the state House of Representatives, and over the next 13 years served in a number of leadership positions. In 1978 he was elected to the United States Senate. During his 18-year tenure, he authored several pieces of immigration legislation: the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (the first such major reform in more than 30 years), and the Immigration Control and Financial Responsibility Act of 1995. He also co-authored the Clean Air Act, and helped draft and pass the first U.S. legislation on permanent nuclear waste disposal. Since leaving the Senate in 1997, Simpson has held several teaching positions, at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and at the University of Wyoming, done legal and consulting work, served on a variety of non-profit and corporate Boards, and written a book -- Right in the Old Gazoo - a reflection on and critique of the role of the press in politics.

  • Martin Torres is the Head Consul at the Consulate of Mexico in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born in Mexico City, and graduated from El Colegio de México. He later received a Fulbright grant to come to the United States and study at the University of Virginia, where he earned a Masters degree in Foreign Affairs.

    Torres has held a variety of positions in the Mexican government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), its leading political party, and the diplomatic corps. Most of his diplomatic experience has been gained at posts in the United States. He served as Consul for Media Affairs in Los Angeles, and has been the Head Consul in two different cities. He created and then for 7 years headed the Consulate of Mexico in Orlando, Florida. Since February, 2002 he has headed the Consulate in Salt Lake City, which represents Mexican affairs in Utah, Idaho, Montana, and western Wyoming.

Studio Guests

  • Mito Alonzo, Meridian, ID, Probation/Parole Officer for the Idaho Department of Correction: /

  • Sam Byrd, Meridian, ID, Executive Director, Idaho Migrant Council

  • Father José de Jesús Camacho, Boise, ID, Priest and Director of Prison Ministry for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Idaho: http://www.catholicidaho.org/index.cfm

  • Irene Chavolla, Nampa, ID, Coordinator of Title I Migrant and LEP program, Idaho State Department of Education: /sasa/

  • Alan Creech, Nampa, ID, Police Chief: http://nampapolice.org

  • Julio Elizondo, Wilder, ID, Student at Boise State University and Manager with Sears Credit

  • Leobarda Elizondo, Wilder, ID, agricultural worker

  • Josefina Estrada, Reno, NV, Human Resources Administrator, KNPB-TV, Reno: http://knpb.org

  • Jesse Gutierrez, Reno, NV, Executive Director, Nevada Hispanic Services, Inc.

  • Mary Gutierrez, Nampa, ID, 2nd grade teacher/Bilingual teacher at Park Ridge Elementary, Nampa; Adjunct Professor at Northwest Nazarene University

  • Judge Sergio Gutierrez, Nampa, ID, Judge on the Idaho Court of Appeals: /judicial/caopins.htm

  • Arnoldo Hernandez, Caldwell, ID, Diversity Director, Albertson College of Idaho: /

  • Angeles Jacobo, Marsing, ID, Student

  • Rosa Jacobo, Marsing, ID, Student

  • Curtis Mendenhall, Burley, ID City Council

  • Oralia Mercado, Casper, WY, Executive Director, Mountain Plains Agricultural Service

  • Leslie Mix, Reno, NV, President/CEO, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Northern Nevada: /

  • Carmina Oaks, Jackson, WY, Executive Director, Latino Resource Center

  • Peter Padilla, Reno, NV, Vice President/General Manager of Azteca America Television and KREN-TV, Reno:

  • Antonio Salcido, Idaho Falls, ID, Engineer, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory: /

  • Estella Zamora, Caldwell, ID, President, Idaho Human Rights Commission; Canyon County Court Interpreter

Navigation Links

Resource Links