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Tejano Henry Cisneros hits the streets
By Antonio Barrios, La Prensa Correspondent


Lorain, Nov. 4, 2012: After the storm comes the calm, but that was not what was happening in Northeast Ohio as the Former Secretary of HUD under the Bill Clinton administration, Henry Cisneros, arrived in Lorain, Ohio after a GOTV campaign walk, earlier in the day in Elyria. Cisneros had also made stops in Cleveland.  

Henry Cisneros with Licha’s owner José Bucio and patrons Miguel & brother.


Hurricane Sandy was the October Election Surprise—it left its mark along the Lake Erie Shores with tremendous beach erosion, blown roof tops, and dozens of falling and mangled trees. Cisneros, who was also a former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, was called in by the Obama campaign to help move Latinos and voters in Ohio; he was vigorously walking the streets and talking with the local residents and shop owners.


Ohio has been the venue for both Presidential candidates with numerous appearances in Northern Ohio. The nation seems to be looking at Ohio as the “decider” of the November 6, 2012 elections. Everyone is talking about the claim that, “As Ohio goes….. so does the Nation,” a mantra that the many visits from high profile candidates and surrogates seem to confirm.


Señor Cisneros first stops were on Pearl Avenue, in the heart of the Latino Barrio called the South Side. One of Mr. Cisneros stops was the well-known grocery and deli Rainbow Bakery, located on the corner of 29th street and Pearl Ave. Here, Cisneros talked with the many patrons and store owner Youssef Rizk, a native of the Galilee in Palestine, who said: “We Christian Catholics were forced to leave our country, so we came to America to live.”


The Rainbow Bakery is known for the homemade bread they make but more so for the tasty Puerto Rican fast food that seems to fly off the shelves.  Mr. Rizk and his brother Mauna say they have invested thousands of dollars in rebuilding the store and surrounding area hoping to help create a better place for themselves and the community that they serve. Cisneros congratulated the brothers for the business they have managed to create in the mostly Latino neighborhood.


A frequent visitor at Rainbow Bakery, Fred Lozano—former City of Lorain Councilman—spoke with Cisneros on the drastic change that has befallen the area work force, when the then-called US Steel Corp was priced out of the steel making industry. Lozano stated that: “Back in the heyday as many as 13,000 residents found employment at the steel mill; but now there are about 1,200 workers that may still have a job.”  Cisneros asked about the political situation here in Lorain and the voting patterns of the local residents.


On the way to another local merchant, Cisneros asked to see the site of the steel mill. Traveling north along 28th Street, Cisneros was able to witness the decay and the abandoned blast furnace of the old steel mill that is now called Republic Steel— it is currently working to build a new arc furnace to replace the outdated blast furnaces and start making steel in Lorain again.


At Licha’s on the corner of 31st and Clinton, Mr. Cisneros was greeted by dueño José Bucio with his wife María Cortez. Cisneros spoke with the patrons and workers at the popular Mexican grocery/deli.


A young waitress named Arianna Meléndez told Cisneros that most of her young family members had all decided not to vote. Concerned, Cisneros questioned the young Latin as to why she had made such a decision. She informed him: “They don’t care; they don’t think their vote counts.” Cisneros spoke to the young worker, who had left school to find work to survive, on the importance of everyone’s vote.


After more conversations and hand shaking, Cisneros moved on to his next stop in Lorain: the Obama Headquarters on Broadway Ave. At the Obama headquarters Cisneros was greeted by Rico Oyola, the field director in charge of the Obama Campaign in Lorain and Elyria.


Oyola introduced Cisneros to the many volunteers who were getting ready to hit the streets and campaign in the different neighborhoods to remind voters of the importance of their vote. Also present was State Representative Dan Ramos who is a local leader in the Latino community. They spoke briefly then Cisneros complimented the group and encourage them to continue their work to help re-elect President Obama. Then quickly moving out the door Cisneros was again on the campaign trail to his next appointment with religious leaders and an early vote-push to the Board of Elections.


Henry Cisneros with Fred Lozano and
Youssef Rizk

Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11/06/12 20:00:08 -0800.




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