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La Liga de Las Americas

A Tale of Two Flores: Lorain primary voters will find a pair of council candidates named D. Flores on ballot

By Alan Abrams, La Prensa Senior Correspondent

Lorain OH: A double dose of Flores awaits this city’s voters in the May 8, 2007 primary for city council.

Two candidates who just happen to share the same surname of Flores are on the ballot. Both are Latino, although one is of Mexican-American descent and the other is Puerto Rican. And both have the same first initial of D. 

Both are also capital D Democrats.

Dennis Flores

Confused? Candidates David and Dennis Flores are counting on voters distinguishing between the two. David Flores, who served on council from 1997 to 2003, is a candidate for Council-at-Large.

Dennis Flores, who is making his first foray into elected politics, is seeking the Second Ward seat.

That ward includes Lorain’s downtown and waterfront, two contentious issues in their own right in the city’s volatile political landscape.

The candidates, who support each other’s campaigns, don’t envision any confusion at the polls. “We’re longtime friends, we both grew up together,” says Dennis Flores.

La Prensa spoke with both candidates last week.  We asked David Flores what motivated him to want to return to Council after an absence of four years.

“I am really positive the city is going backwards,” says David Flores. “We’re certainly not gaining anything. No one is moving in downtown. We’ve lost jobs and businesses have moved out of the city. Although our school system is now in continuous improvement status, it hasn’t progressed the way it should have.

“People are just not getting the answers or the information they need. People know I’m a go-getter, always fighting for the underdog. We need to concentrate on the city’s infrastructure, develop the waterfront, re-build the jail, increase the number of police and firemen, find solutions for the city’s sewer system problems, and work with other government officials to bring jobs to Lorain,” says Flores.

He sees one of his strengths as his ability to “work with the little people. That’s where I came from,” adds Flores, whose community roots include active memberships and leadership positions in the Mexican Mutual Society, the Coalition for Hispanic/Latino Issues, Sacred Heart Chapel Guadalupe Society and LCLAA.

He considers both his parents, Pete Flores, Sr., and Guadalupe Flores, as his mentors. His dad is now 80 and his mother is 77.

Flores is a longtime labor activist and served for 14 years as president of Local 103 of the NCF&0—SEIU. He has also been a member of the United Food & Commercial Workers and United Steel Workers of America unions. He serves on the Executive Board of the AFL-CIO Labor Federation and has been a delegate for more than 20 years.

“As a union member, I am against outsourcing, temporary and replacement workers,” says Flores. “I have fought for health care, organizing and civil rights, and have assisted other unions through the Federation. My campaign motto is ‘Committed to working with the community for a better Lorain.’”

We asked Dennis Flores what convinced him to jump into the race. “It was coming home from work to find that the forensic lab has your entire street locked up because there was a shooting,” he replies.

David Flores

“It is a matter of the conditions of our neighborhood. We have more than 400 abandoned houses that are slated for demolition that are a real eyesore in the neighborhood. Maybe it is because if you walk down to the corner there’s a ten-year-old kid offering you crack balls.

“We need to move on to transformation by taking a step in the right direction and make decisions that change the policy for our community, our neighborhoods and the senior citizens who are frequently the most vulnerable to crime because of the prevalence of drugs in the neighborhoods,” says Flores.

His concern also extends to youth, especially those in trouble. “We have to help them to get the help they need.  You can’t just continue to punish them in jail and throw away the key.”

He wants to see the waterfront developed and would introduce a resolution for a SID (Special Improvement District) to make it possible. “The waterfront is a prime estate property,” says Flores.

He says his campaign against the incumbent has generated a lot of support from those who want to see new leadership in place. “I can speak for the people and not just be a figurehead,” says Flores. “The current councilman is invisible, people in the Ward don’t even know who he is. I’m running against a phantom.”

 Flores believes council has cost the city as many as 60 much-needed jobs by playing politics in its decisions.

“I want to help the people in the Second Ward have a better quality of life,” says Flores, who is a IT consultant for Northcoast Network & Security. The son of Anna M. Cruz and Pablo Carrion Flores, he turned 53 last month.

Lorain’s Latino population is estimated at 20 percent.





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