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La Liga de Las Americas

The reporter: The eyes & ears of the community

Commentary by Milagros Santiago


In this election, the Latino Community will play an important voting role throughout the United States, including in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, where it is estimated that the Latino Community is well over a million strong.


This election will be won by large turnouts in areas such as Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, Youngstown, Lorain, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Monroe, Adrian, Holland, and Indianapolis—all have a significant Latino Communities.

The Latino vote should not be taken for granted and Latinos are listening and watching to see who will best represent their/our community interests.

Milagros Santiago


The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda provides a scorecard where they track how our legislatures vote on Latino issues [The score card of Jan. 2006 can be found at www.laprensa1.com].


This organization made up of several organizations that are considered to be leaders on issues that affect the Latino Community. Some of the organizations are:


Labor Council for Latin American Advancement,

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,

National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials,

National Puerto Rican Coalition,

U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,

National Council of La Raza.


For example, last year’s scorecard showed that U.S. Congressman Sherrod Brown (OH-District 13), who is now running for the U.S. Senate, scored a 100% when voting on issues that have an impact on the Latino Community, while U.S. Senator Mike DeWine’s score for 2005 was 50%.


Other Ohio Congressional Representatives with a score of 100% were: Marcy Kaptur, Dennis J. Kucinich, and Stephanie T. Jones—all Democrats! In contrast, Ohio Republican representatives had scores of: Paul Gillmor (33%), John A. Boehner (24%), Steve C. LaTourette (35%), and Deborah Pryce (33%).


In Michigan, we have 100% scores for Bart Stupak, Dale E. Kildee, Sander M. Levin, Carolyn Kilpatrick, John Conyers Jr., and John D. Dingell—all Democrats!


In Indiana, Democrat Julia Carson had a score of 100% and Democrat Baron P. Hill had a score of 94%.


Getting back to Congressman Sherrod Brown—he has always made it a point to make sure that his staff had representation from the minority communities. Not long ago, one of his Latino staff members—Diana Meleti—was the 2005 recipient of  the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Award, which is given to a Latino leader who continually dedicates their time to improve the quality of life for Latinos throughout Ohio.


In 2004, Brown was given the Nuestro Familia Award which was presented by the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs. This award is given to a non Latino individual or organization that has made a positive impact on the lives of the Latino Community in Ohio.


Although his Sept. 14, 2006th vote on building double-layered walls of 700 miles in length as “part of border protection” [HB 6061] was viewed as a bad vote by most of the National Hispanic Organizations and Latinos, we hope that when this election is over, that those who were using the Latino Community as a way of dividing this country will stop creating an atmosphere of distress and prejudice towards a community who has laid down their lives to protect and preserve the rights and freedom of this great country.


Another important Ohio race is the governor’s. The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda Organization scored Ted Strickland 100% when voting on issues that affect the Latino Community. He too made a mistake in supporting another house bill [HB 4437], but later apologized for voting for that bill.


After meeting with Latino leaders and explaining that he was concerned about national security issues, he then realized that important contributions had been made by these Latino families, who are working without documentation, and how we need to come up with a better system to help those who are making such positive contributions.


The fact that he was willing to meet with Latino leaders shows that he will be sensitive to the needs of the Latino Community; therefore, I encourage all my brothers and sisters to support Ted Strickland.


I have been privileged to watch many of the candidates who are running for office and I am proud to say that I am most impressed with Ted Strickland, Sherrod Brown, and Betty Sutton (for U.S. Congress). While reporters are not in a position to do endorsements, we are some of the eyes and ears of the community and after hearing where these candidates stand on the real moral issues that affect the Latino Community—like health care, health insurance, jobs, social justice, and the pursuit of the U.S.-American Dream—it is clear that we as the Latino Community can’t afford to sit at home and let others determine who will represent our voice.


¡Su voto es su voz!


National Hispanic Leadership Agenda's Congressional Scorecard   PDF Format





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