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Latino Democratic caucus reconvenes

By Kevin Milliken, La Prensa Correspondent


Feb. 1, 2014: The Lucas County Latino Democratic Caucus is being revived after nearly four years of partial dormancy, as the county Democratic party faces turmoil within—for example, in the 2013 November election, the Democratic party had no candidate for Toledo mayor in contention—and representation from Latino elected officials has fallen—for example, Toledo City Councilman Adam Martínez was not re-elected.


Lisa Canales reconvened the caucus to start a grass-roots campaign to get Democratic precinct committee candidates and raise the Latino political voice in what will be a crucial election year in Lucas County, statewide, and in US Congress. The group met despite foul winter weather on Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Believe Center, 1 Aurora Gonzales Ave.

Lisa Canales


“I was extremely upset at the outcome of the (Toledo) mayor’s race and losing a seat on city council—all of those things,” she said. “I think we had a great opportunity and we fell short. I know in my heart that we can do better than that.”


About a dozen people showed up for the initial meeting of the caucus. A second meeting already is planned for Saturday, Feb. 22, 10 a.m. at the Believe Center.


Ms. Canales is a former elected official herself—and described those days as “exciting times” because Latinos had representation “on the 22nd floor, on city council,” and elsewhere. To some degree, she wants to recapture that political prominence for Latinos in metro Toledo.


“There were a lot of good things going on,” she said. “At this point, there’s not a whole lot going on.”


While Anita López remains county auditor, Canales was disappointed she was unable to get past the Sept. mayoral primary. While Bob Vásquez serves on the Toledo Public Schools board of education, there is no Latino representation on city council.


Canales was elected president of the caucus, but claimed she “has no agenda” but to raise the political profile of Latinos within the Democratic Party. She stated the meeting provided good candor and that “old baggage” and “hurt feelings from the past” were brought up—but she would prefer to focus forward on 2014 races and issues.


“We’re excited to be united. We’re excited about the future,” she said. “It was a really good start. This is a new time for us. We all care about what’s going on and we will work together.”


Jesús Salas was elected and sworn in as the vice president of the Lucas County Hispanic/ Latino Democratic Caucus, while Arturo Quintero will serve as the group’s treasurer.


Ms. Canales credited Quintero for his leadership and keeping the caucus quietly active for the past four years—even making sure the caucus gave a donation from the caucus to Adam Martínez in his failed re-election bid for Toledo City Council. The caucus also quietly paid for Ramón Pérez’s voting sign-up booth at the Midwest LatinoFest at Promenade Park last June   

The most immediate issue is the recruitment of Latino candidates to serve on the party’s central committee and getting enough petition signatures to get them on the May primary ballot before the Feb. 5, 2014 deadline. Ms. Canales stated she spent “most of the weekend” on that effort, but won’t say how many candidates or who has agreed to go forward.


“We know we’re under the gun. We’ll see what happens,” she said.


There is a sort of political ripple effect if enough people make the ballot. Latinos will have seats at the table when it comes to grass-roots politics within the Lucas County Democratic Party.


“We would like to be a bigger part of having our issues and our candidates heard,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve done a good job in the past of doing that. We need to raise the voice of the Latino community, but I’m still a very proud Democrat.”


Copyright © 1989 to 2014 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02/04/14 21:15:41 -0800.




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