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If in agreement with this letter, please mail a signed copy to Ohio’s Governor.


Governor John Kasich
77 South High Street, 30th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6117

Governor Kasich,

I am writing to ask you to increase investment in the Ohio Hispanic community through their state agency – the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs - in the biennial budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. Funding at the current level is not sufficient to sustain OCHLA’s execution of its statutory mandates. 

OCHLA is a tiny but impactful state agency. With a staff of just two part-time and two full-time employees, and on a budget of less than $1 per Hispanic Ohioan, the Commission works aggressively and effectively to: connect their constituents to each other and to Hispanic-serving organizations and state agencies; to advise your office and the Ohio General Assembly on the challenges and opportunities facing Ohio Hispanics; and to build the community’s capacity for educational, professional and civic achievement. For many in Ohio’s Hispanic communities, OCHLA is an indispensable asset.

Despite severe cuts in funding in recent years, the Commission has actually drastically increased programming, initiatives and constituent services. As a result, Ohio Hispanics are more engaged than ever before.  Last year, OCHLA hosted their biggest advocacy day ever – bringing more than 250 Hispanic leaders to the Statehouse - along with United States Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. An ambitious voter registration, education and protection campaign helped as many as 10,000 Ohio Hispanics register to vote in time for November’s election. The Commission also brought together health care service providers and professionals to discuss health disparities among Ohio Hispanics at the first ever Ohio Latino Health Summit. 

The Commission has also been a tireless proponent of your vision for Ohio, Mr. Governor. It serves as part of the Human Trafficking Commission under Attorney General DeWine, and the Commission works hard to disseminate news and events from your office weekly. OCHLA also brought together many key Hispanic leaders to meet with you to discuss implementation of your plan for Ohio’s workforce transformation within the Ohio Hispanic community, and works to create jobs for Ohio Hispanics through partnerships with the Ohio Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and the Small Business Development Centers.  The Commission also hosted Ohio’s First Lady at last year’s Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Award gala.

OCHLA has done all of this on a shrinking budget. The Commission has relied on other revenue sources, including partnerships with organizations around the state, as well as seeking and even successfully finding grants to support specific initiatives. OCHLA’s Chairman and Executive Director are sharp fiscal stewards, and they have a specific proposal for how additional investment would be spent if granted. The Commission requests an increase of just $70,000 – enough to expand two part-time staff positions to full-time. While such an increase would represent about 21% of OCHLA’s budget for fiscal year 2013 - $324,922 - but it seems a small price to pay to allow the Commission to continue to execute its mandates. The size and need of Ohio’s Hispanic community has grown explosively. The State’s Hispanic population is up more than 63% since 2000, and the agency that serves those Ohio Hispanics in a culturally-competent way has fought dwindling support from the State during that same period.

Ohio Hispanics will play a key role in Ohio’s future. We’ll be a critical contributor to your success in turning Ohio around economically. With this meager increase to OCHLA’s budget - $70,000 - the returns on Ohio’s investment in its most dynamic community will be even greater. 


Sign your name here




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Revised: 01/22/13 19:52:12 -0800.




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