Strong community support for OLA at Senate Finance hearing
May 19, 2011: Dedicated supporters of OLA waited over 8 hours on Thursday to testify in favor of Ohio Governor John Kasich’s biennial budget proposal for the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission. Senate Finance Chair Chris Widener (R-Springfield) thanked each witness for their “patience and testimony” after a very long day of committee hearings.
Robert Torres, a Marine Corps veteran and current Economic Development Director for the city of Canton, testified that: “the commission is helping Ohio to become global-ready and works closely with us as we help transform the economy.” Both Senator Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton) and Senator President Pro Tempore Keith Faber (R-Celina) congratulated Torres for his testimony and thanked him for his military service.
Lorena Mora-Mowry, president of Mora Media, LLC and creative force behind Mujer Latina Hoy, set the tone for the evening when she passionately communicated the commission’s extraordinary success in fulfilling its mandate to connect Latin0-serving organizations across the state.
Nathan Farr, co-owner of Empleos & Employment, LLC, and Ariana Ulloa-Olavarrieta, Director of the Columbus Small Business Development Center, testified as to the tremendous impact of Latinos in the workforce and the increasing number of Latino entrepreneurs in Ohio.
Michael Ferrer, Special Projects Director at the Lorain County Urban League, said “the Commission is the only source of non-partisan information about Latinos we can trust.”
Guadalupe Velásquez, New American Initiatives Coordinator for the city of Columbus [Velásquez praised Executive Director Lilleana Cavanaugh and her staff for their “timely responsiveness to crucial constituent service requests that often require extensive research”]
Leo Pierson, a Sociology instructor at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, presented the impressive credentials of the Board, which included:
• Isabel Framer, nominated by President Obama and recently confirmed by the United States Senate to the State Justice Institute;
• Michael Florez, a Hamilton County Assistant Prosecutor;
• Baldermar Valásquez , President of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and recent inductee into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame;
• Andrés González, Director of Diversity and Outreach for the Cleveland Clinic; and
• Representative Dan Ramos (D- Lorain).
Other OLA board members include: Rev. Max Rodas, V. Anthony Simms-Howell, Lourdes Barroso, and Richard Romero.
At the conclusion of the hearings, Commissioner Mary Santiago, Chair of OLA, thanked each remaining Finance Committee member, including Ranking Minority member Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Senator Eric Kearney (D-Cincinnati).
Nolan Stevens, J.D., contributed to this report.
On the Internet: http://ochla.ohio.gov/