Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Thursday that Raul Yzaguirre, a prominent Hispanic activist and former president of the National Council of La Raza, would co-chair her presidential campaign and lead its outreach to Hispanic voters.

"Hillary Clinton has spent more than three decades advocating on behalf of those who are invisible in America," Yzaguirre said in a statement. "Not only is she the most experienced and qualified candidate to be president, Senator Clinton has the ability to bring people together to get results and move this country forward."

Hispanics are one of the fastest growing voter groups in the United States, especially in the South and West. National exit polls showed that 69 percent of Hispanic voters favored Democratic candidates in 2006, compared to 30 percent for Republicans. But 44 percent of Hispanics voted for President Bush, a Republican, in 2004.

Other Democratic presidential contenders have strong ties to the Hispanic community. Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd is a fluent Spanish speaker after serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is running to become the first Hispanic president.

Under Yzaguirre's leadership, NCLR became the largest Hispanic advocacy organization in the country, with 41 state affiliates.