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Ohio Latinos head to White House Christmas party

By Kevin Milliken for La Prensa


Dec. 11, 2012: At least three Ohioans with Latino ties will spend part of their holiday season in the nation’s capital attending the annual White House Christmas party later this month.


Isabel Framer of Akron-area left Tuesday with the intent of also attending a policy briefing and feedback session on public policy issues to be addressed for President Barack Obama’s second term.


Isabel Framer

Ms. Framer served on the Ohio Latino Leadership Council for the president’s re-election campaign, which acted as both an advisory group to provide insight and information on Latino affairs, as well as helped to communicate Obama’s re-election message within the Latino community in Ohio.


“It is not the first time for me going to a White House reception, but it is the first time for me going to the holiday reception and I am very excited about that,” she said. “I saw a video where the president’s dog went past all of the various Christmas trees and decorations and I think that is going to be so cool to see. I’m sure it’s going to be very impressive, very nice.”


Ms. Framer is up for reappointment by Obama to a federal panel known as the State Justice Institute Board, which according to Ms. Framer, is the federal board that provides funding to the state courts across the country. It is within that role that she has attended several other policy briefings in the past. She expects to be reconfirmed for a second term once the U.S. Senate reconvenes in January.


“They give us an overview of the issues the president may be working on at the time,” she explained. “I’m a community advocate for the Latino community, so definitely I provide feedback. We will be hearing from senior officials and brainstorming ways we can be involved. This is not Latino-specific. It involves all constituencies.”


Ms. Framer also is the founder and principal partner of Language Access Consultants, LLC, a firm which provides not only translator services, but serves as a consultant to judges, attorneys, law enforcement, state and federal government agencies, including the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and advocacy firms on language access for limited English proficient communities in the court system. She has served as an expert witness and published many articles on court access issues for those who don’t speak English well.


Ms. Framer will present a letter to President Barack Obama from Miguel Angel Chiquin Yat, director of the Organization of the Maya People in Exile, wishing the President the very best. He advises the President: “Spiritually, on December 21, 2012, Mankind begins the journey the cosmic bridge the Fifth Sun, the new aurora, the new dawn, with great expectation to make this world, a better world, where world leaders, are staring their own Spiritual awakening, from their own inner self, from a dormant consciences and enter to a state of heightened awareness, which is also the awakening of social consciousness, so for those who have nothing can start making a better living.”


Ms. Framer also will present to the Obama administration with a signed poster of the president that was created during the political campaign by Bowling Green-based artist Emanuel Enríquez. Obama is depicted in the painted campaign poster with a hand over his heart, wearing a cape and labeled as Obama “El Valiente” (The Brave).


The painter-sculptor’s work can be seen as public art across the area, including bronze life-size works outside Fifth Third Field downtown Toledo (where the Toledo Mud Hens play) and sculptures in the rose garden at the Toledo Botanical Gardens and Schedel Arboretum and Gardens in Elmore, Ohio.


“I think it’s wonderful. It’s a beautiful poster. I really think the White House would be really honored to have a poster like that,” she said. “It’s certainly an honor to be able to deliver it.”


David Leopold

David Leopold, a Cleveland attorney who handles a lot of immigration cases on behalf of the Latino community, also will attend the holiday festivities in Washington, D.C. after attending the same policy briefing as Ms. Framer.


“It’s always an honor to go to the White House, to that’s exciting in and of itself,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of work with the folks over at the White House on a variety of issues over the past couple of years. I would imagine that’s how I got invited.”


While not directly involved in the president’s re-election campaign, Leopold was actively engaged in policy work centered on his role as president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, as well as advocating in a private capacity.

David Leopold


“I’ve work with folks on the (Capitol) Hill, the executive branch, and elsewhere on a variety of immigration issues,” he said. “I think the fact that someone like me who has been invited means this is a White House with open ears and I think it shows this is a White House that listens to the American people.”


Leopold also has been vocal on immigration issues, mainly through columns he’s written for the Huffington Post. He stated he would continue to be a vocal advocate for an issue he believes it’s time has come for comprehensive action in Washington, D.C.


“I hope through that, I presented some ideas people thought about,” he said. “The DREAM Act has a lot of work to do. It hasn’t been passed yet, but we’re hopeful there will be a DREAM Act in the next session of Congress. Actually, we’re hopeful there will be a comprehensive bill that incorporates the provisions of the DREAM Act to extend the pathway to earned citizenship for all people who are here who lack documentation that are deserving. I’ll be giving my input to anyone who asks.”

Richard Romero


This will be the second White House Christmas Party attended by Richard Romero of Lorain, owner of the Ohio Latino Media Network, a division of IMG Consulting, a PR and government relations firm he also owns, and president of Latinos Magazine, a Northeast Ohio-based publication. Like Ms. Framer, Romero also is a member of the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission, which he has served for more than two decades.

“I had the privilege and honor to do this once before under President Bill Clinton,” he said. “It’s amazing the access you get to the White House. You get to see every room.

Richard Romero


It’s truly a special opportunity that comes once in a life time—at least I thought that before and here I am being invited to go back.”


Romero called it a reward for hard work during both presidential campaigns, describing it as “a way of saying thank you” by the national re-election campaign staff.


“A lot of the work we were doing was focusing on getting the local Latino community involved and working with some of the folks in Cleveland doing festivals,” he said.


“I took it upon myself to bring bumper stickers and give them away. We did whatever we needed to do to get Obama’s name out and it obviously worked. I’m proud to say Ohio had the highest Latino turnout in the country at more than 80 percent. That’s unheard of. To me, all campaigns are local. I think the most important thing is getting people out to vote and it paid off,” Romero added.




Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12/11/12 20:19:34 -0800.




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