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Hillary Clinton at LCCC. Photo by Antonio Barrio

Senator Hillary Clinton vows Obama will fix economic woes

By Ingrid M. Rivera, Special to La Prensa


ELYRIA, Sept. 14, 2008: Hillary Clinton focused on the need for creating and retaining jobs in Lorain County when campaigning for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, Sunday Sept. 14, on the campus of Lorain County Community College.


The New York senator said Obama would be the right choice for fixing the county's economic problems. She urged the crowd of 1,200 to become mobilized through town halls, walking the streets or speaking with neighbors to help elect Obama to office.


Lorain County's high unemployment rate of more than 8 percent has surpassed the state and national level unemployment rates. Clinton said Ohio has suffered the loss of roughly 200,000 manufacturing jobs during the Bush administration.

“If we don't do something about it, we will not recognize our country in the next 10 years,” Clinton said. “Senator Obama will end the failed economic policies of the last eight years.”


During her rallies around the country, Clinton said the public consistently referred to two challenges: how to create new jobs and how to retain jobs.


“The great American middle class – which really made America what we are today, we  must get them to a rightful place at the center of this economy, if we're going to maintain our standard of living and our quality of life,” Clinton said.

Clinton briefly touched upon the issues of health care access, the home mortgage crisis and women's right to equal pay. She said the goal is to provide “quality, affordable health care for every single American,” and that Obama plans to reward companies that create jobs with health care and retirement benefits.


The city of Lorain had been considered for Clinton's visit but Elyria was chosen; one goal was to find a location with a high population of Latinos, several members of the Lorain County Democratic Party said.


Despite the low percentage of Latinos in the state of Ohio, only 2.3 percent, Lorain County has a significantly large percentage of Latinos, making up 7.1 percent of the total county population, according to the Census Bureau.


The Obama campaign is choosing to rally in these high populated Latino areas not to convince Latinos to vote for Obama but to improve voter turnout.


 Latinos are the nation's largest ethnic or race minority and the fastest-growing minority group in the country, making up about 15 percent of the nation's total population, according to the Census Bureau.  Latinos make up 9 percent of the nation's total electorate. And according to the Pew Hispanic Center, 66 percent of the Latino registered voters support Obama over John McCain.


Latinos could play a significant role in this year's presidential elections by increasing the Democratic votes but that is if they turn out to vote. Latinos often turn out to the polls in much smaller numbers than other ethnic groups, although the figure has been rising since 2004.


Rally attendee Tomás Serrano, of Lorain and Puerto Rican descent, said he plans to vote for Obama in November. “We have to vote for him because the other guy isn't going to help us,” Serrano said, referring to the middle class.


Puerto Rico Senate President Kenneth D. McClintock, who has previously urged Puerto Ricans to vote and said they often do not turn out to vote, traveled to the Ohio region to campaign for Obama. He also came to speak before a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Cleveland.


“Jobs is what brought Puerto Ricans to Ohio in the 40s and 50s,” McClintock said. Obama “is the great defender of jobs for Ohio and Lorain.”


Clinton, however, did not speak about Obama's immigration reform plans – an important issue to many Latinos.


Clinton did more energizing than convincing of the crowd to support Obama but she directly signaled her supporters during the primaries. “For those of you who supported me, I thank you and I ask you to work as hard for Obama as you did for me.”


Clinton called upon the attendees to volunteer and get mobilized to help elect Obama. “We have the opportunity to go beyond the failed policies of the last eight years or continue them,” Clinton said. “I encourage all of you to do everything you can between now and Nov. 4 to make sure that we have a Democratic team back in the White House.”


Betty White, of Elyria, is volunteering for the Obama campaign in her city. “I came out to support Barack Obama, to help in any way that I can,” White said, “I realize that we all have to do our part.”







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