Councilman Bob Coffin - Proud Of His Heritage
Councilman Bob Coffin is very proud of his Hispanic heritage.
His mother, Claudina Carrisosa, was a descendant of a long line of Mexicans who immigrateted to Southern California from Sonora in the 1800s. Bob’s grandfather, Santos Carrisosa, was a foreman on the Bastanchury Ranch in Orange County.
Tragically Santos died in the great flu epidemic of 1918 so Bob’s mother was raised by her single mother, Carmen Bustamente, in the Anaheim area.
Bob has fond memories of listening to his mother and Nana speaking in Spanish in the family kitchen as they made enchiladas. As an adult he had his mother share her recipe with him and he learned to make them just as Nana did.
When Bob was a child his mother insisted that he speak English because she remembered the problems she faced when she spoke Spanish in public in the 1920s in a community where the Ku Klux Klan was influential.
It was only when Bob was older that he learned of the discrimination his mother faced in her youth. She was ashamed to tell him that “Mexicans” were relegated to balcony seats at the movie theater and only allowed to swim in the pool at Anaheim Park on Mondays because that was the day it was cleaned.
In high school Claudina Carrisosa was the winner of a countywide beauty pageant, but was told that her last name was too difficult to pronounce so the prize was awarded to someone else.
These stories had a lasting impression on Bob and he vowed that he would always be proud of his heritage and would work to see that others were not the victims of such discrimination.
His determination to fight injustice led to him making numerous trips to Nicaragua in the late 1980s to aid freedom fighters whom he had met while they were political refugees in Las Vegas. Bob then served as an international observer of the 1990 Nicaraguan National Elections in which a dictatorial regime was ousted.
As a legislator Bob fought against laws that would legalize prejudice.
Bob has been a member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas for 29 years and served on the Chamber’s Board of Directors for 12 years. He was twice honored by the Latin Chamber with its Outstanding Hispanic Citizen Award and its Public Service Award.
He also was honored by the Hispanic Business and Professional Women with their Man of Year Award for his efforts to promote peace in Central America.
Bob is proud to have been the first Hispanic elected to the Nevada State Senate. His record of service is documented in “Hispanic Profiles In Nevada History: 1829-1991.” He is one of just five contemporary Latinos profiled in this history book.
It is Bob’s honor to be the first Mexican-American on the Las Vegas City Council.