The inaugural class of the Latino Leadership Academy has graduated.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus created the academy this year to help participants learn more about government, politics, campaigns and the advocacy process.

Murphy says 18 emerging community leaders graduated Saturday morning during a ceremony at the State Capitol in Hartford.

The Connecticut Democrat says they'll bring fresh voices to the table, whether it's by fighting for issues like quality education and immigration reform or by running for office themselves one day.

The Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus says the graduates can help ensure greater representation of Latinos in political positions throughout the state.

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The graduates are scheduled to meet with government leaders, advocates and media outlets on Dec. 6 in Washington, D.C.

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