Government Affairs Committee

The Government Affairs Committee advocates on behalf of Hispanic businesses on several legislative issues. Our legislative priorities include:

  • Supporting a competitive business climate in Maryland, including getting rid of W/MBE sub-goals which negatively affect Hispanic firms and discourage competition among minority contractors
  • Encouraging job growth and workforce development in Maryland
  • Supporting small businesses
  • Representing minorities in state government
  • Securing funding to Minority Chambers of Commerce to support programs that:
    • help minority businesses grow enough to hire employees
    • assist minority companies in obtaining W/MBE certification

Through it all, Government Affairs helps the Chamber navigate through all of the briefings, hearings, maze of law, budgetary matters and procurement opportunities. Members have the opportunity to be involved by attending hearings, briefings and meetings with decision makers. During the Legislative Session, our committee is active, speaking to legislators and State and local officials, advocating on our behalf, ensuring that we are being represented and receiving the most up to date information on issues that matter the most to us. During the interim, the Government Affairs Committee has established the relationships within State and local government to remain informed of issues and opportunities affecting your interests.

Government Affairs Committee Member Job Brief

We are looking for Chamber members who are interested in advocating on behalf of Maryland Hispanic businesses. We ask that members of the Government Affairs Committee maintain a broad knowledge of current events and read briefs created by our government affairs team. Members of this Committee will be asked to participate in conference calls that are scheduled as needed.


  • Initiate and set goals for advocacy according to the strategic objectives of the organization
  • Plan Committee actions from start to completion involving deadlines, milestones and processes
  • Read government relations reports to determine progress and issues


  • An interest in advocacy, government affairs, and current events
  • A desire to learn more about the legislative positions of the Maryland Hispanic Chamber

Committee Chair

Katie Nash

Katie Nash serves as Policy Director and registered lobbyist for Greenwill Consulting Group – the Chamber’s government relations team. Ms. Nash has devoted her career to government and public affairs and brings thorough knowledge of the legislative process. She is honored to have within her lobbying portfolio a wide range of industries, ranging from energy to local government to gaming to procurement. Ms. Nash resides in Frederick, Maryland, is mother to Cade (8) and Liberty (7) and actively serves in leadership positions for her community.

Contact the Chair at

Committee Members

Ira Kelly

Joe Morales

Joe Morales is the founder of The Morales Law Firm and represents businesses in a variety of legal matters. He is also serves as general counsel for Respira, Inc. Joe is a patent attorney and has advised businesses in intellectual property and other matters for over ten years. He is a former member of the MHCC’s board of directors and served as the organizations secretary for several years. Joe has also led the chamber’s legislative affairs committee in the past.

Joe has a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UMBC and a law degree from the University of Baltimore. He is a member of the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the Interamerican Association for Intellectual Property (ASIPTI) and currently serves as the United States’ delegate.

Richard Otero

Richard “Dick” James Otero, Sr. is the founder and President of Otero, LLC, which assists small businesses in participating in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) procurement assistance and business development program. Prior to this, Dick founded and served as the CEO/President of and RJO Enterprises, Inc. Dick was recognized twice as the national entrepreneur of the year, once by the Small Business Administration and once by the Minority Business Development Agency of the Federal government. His company was recognized for five consecutive years as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation, by Inc. Magazine.

Dick is also a small business and minority business community activist. He was among the founders of the National Federation of 8(a) Companies, and the National Coalition of Minority Business. He served as the Chairman of the Latin American Management Association, and President of the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Maryland State Chamber of Commerce.

Dick is married to Jeanneine Otero, has six children from two marriages, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He resides in Odenton, Maryland.

Jorge Restrepo

Jorge Restrepo is founder and president of EurekaFacts, a growing market and social science research firm located in Rockville, Maryland. Leading a team of research experts, he delivers consistently superior insights to every client. His research includes work for large, high-impact organizations and has covered a wide range of industries and demographic groups in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. He is the developer of Hispanic household segmentation system Segmentos™ and rapid qualitative product suite ExpressQual™.

Involved in the community, he has served as board president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County and the Hispanic Business Foundation of Maryland, Maryland, Hispanic Business Conference, on the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Small Business and the boards of the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, Workforce Solutions, and Montgomery Community Media.

Maya Zegarra

Maya is an Immigration attorney in the DC Metro area. Born and raised in Peru, Maya is a first-generation immigrant who has gone through the immigration process. Maya knows first-hand the difficulties of the immigration process and how traumatic the experience can be and has worked hard to create a better future for herself and for her family, and is committed to helping others do the same. Maya has been committed to the rights of the low income, immigrant population by participating with several non-profits, including Catholic Charities Esperanza Center, KIND, the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, AILA, CASA de Maryland and others.