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Congresswomen Kaptur, Sánchez greet Lorain Latinos before primary March 6

Congressmen Kucinich, Gutiérrez visit March 1

By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent

Lorain: With primary elections just around the political corner, candidates are out canvassing neighborhoods to make one last pitch for votes.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) took the opportunity to meet with Latinos in the City of Lorain on Monday, February 27, 2012, accompanied by Congresswoman Loretta Sánchez (D-CA).

As a result of redistricting, the City of Lorain is now included in the 9th District. She and fellow democrat U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) will face off March 6th, vying for the same votes. With a 25 percent Latino population in Lorain, the community plays a critical role in shaping its future and Congressional representation. 

Kaptur met with students and administrators of Frank Jacinto Elementary School, Lorain Veteran’s Administration Outpatient Clinic and Valor House, lunched at El Arriero Mexican Restaurant, and toured El Centro de Servicios Sociales, Inc.

Kaptur said she works with the community and its leaders for the best possible solutions and what sets her apart from Kucinich is: “Real results.”

Congresswoman Sánchez said their voting records mirror each other; she praised Kaptur’s work ethics and said she cares about the communities she serves and brings forth practical solutions and ideas.

Sánchez advises Kaptur to listen closely to the concerns of the Latino communities—“We don’t ask for much but when we do it is of real importance,” Sánchez said.

But Congresswoman Kaptur’s voting record diverges from Sánchez’s [and Kucinich’s] in one important aspect— on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (the DREAM Act, updated HR 5281), wherein Sánchez voted for and Kaptur voted against.  Kaptur explained the legislation’s focus was too narrow and did not address the greater problem, “I believe in comprehensive immigration reform.” She said immigration affects all ethnicities and the solution should encompass all those impacted.

Yet, a review of the bill that passed the House on December 8, 2010 reveals that all immigrants/aliens—who met strict requirements—were included, not just Latinos.

Sánchez said the lack of the ultimate Senatorial support in December of 2010 renders the DREAM Act moot, and is used as a smoke screen to divert attention from comprehensive immigration reform. She said the anger is frustrating; “I explain to students they are being used.”

Another one of her colleagues—Congressman Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois—disagrees.  Gutiérrez will visit both Lorain and Toledo this week to explain why the DREAM Act should have become law and how the vast majority of Latinos support the DREAM Act. 

Victor Leandry, Executive Director of El Centro, said the issue of DREAM Act is unlikely to sway voters’ opinion in the city. He said while voter registration and participation has increased over the years it remains below its potential and voters are likely to cast in favor of the candidate they relate to more at a personal level. He said voter advocacy and education needs to be strengthened so they begin to ask questions and hold elected officials accountable for their campaign promises. “Voters are not ready to follow issues and ask candidates why they are taking the positions they are,” he said.

Leandry said the population has previously been neglected but is beginning to wake up and take a more active role in civic engagement with the commitment of several organizations and agencies like the Coalition for Hispanic/Latino Issues and Progress (CHIP). “People are beginning to understand voting is not just a right but a responsibility,” he said.

Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02/28/12 13:12:28 -0800.





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