In a historic win, Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), the current head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is the first Latina elected to serve as vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

Sánchez was elected in a narrow 98-96 vote on Wednesday over Rep. Barbara Lee, who is African-American.

“Sanchez is another milestone for the community. It’s heartening and uplifting and a profound step forward,” Cristóbal J. Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project, told Fox News Latino.

Sánchez, 47, will be the youngest member of House Democratic leadership. She is one of seven children, raised by Mexican immigrant parents in Anaheim, California, and serves in Congress with her sister, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, of California, who recently lost her bid to replace outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer to California District Attorney Kamala Harris.

“I am honored to have the confidence and support of my colleagues, and I look forward to working on behalf of the entire Democratic Caucus," Linda Sánchez said in a statement. "Every day I will do everything I can to strengthen our Democratic Caucus and put us in the strongest position.” 

“I have the utmost respect for Rep. Barbara Lee and thank her for running a spirited campaign. She will continue to be a leading member of our Caucus. We all value her knowledge and passion, which will be critical to our success as we move forward together,” Sánchez said.

Prior to her public service career, Sanchez was an attorney specializing in labor law.

“Sánchez has been a champion, echoing the concerns of our community,” Alex told FNL. “I’ve been in private meetings with her, that she’s called for, off the record, and behind the scenes, and in private she’s a fierce advocate. We couldn’t be more excited to have her in that position.”

Had Lee, a Democrat from Oakland, won, she would have been the first black woman election to House Democratic leadership.

Sánchez will be serving with Joseph Crowley of New York, who is replacing Xavier Becerra, the California congressman Gov. Jerry Brown has chosen to replace Harris as the state's attorney general.

Sánchez will be the only Hispanic in a House Democratic leadership position in the 115th Congress. She was first elected to Congress in 2003 and took over as chairwoman of the Hispanic Caucus in 2015.

Rebekah Sager is a writer/editor for Fox News Latino. She can be reached at rebekah.sager@foxnewslatino.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebekah_sager

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