Former U.S. Treasurer and Florida Members of Congress to Participate in Immigration and Economy Panel

By Evelyn Perez-Verdia

In a time in which immigration is on America’s mind, former U.S. Treasurer, Rosario Marin, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Carlos Curbelo will be coming together in Miami for a panel discussion on the importance of immigration to the economic growth of the United States.  The panel will be moderated by former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.  The welcome will be given by Colombian-American Community Leader, Fabio Andrade.  

The event is sponsored by: AC Alliance, The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, and Americas Community Center.

To attend, please view the information below.

 

Florida Democratic Party Searching for a Bilingual Media Director

flademsBy Evelyn Perez-Verdia

Viva the FDP!  The day has come.  After a strong initiative from various leaders in Florida, The Florida Democratic Party has agreed on the importance of hiring  a communcations professional to serve as Press Secretary and Director of Hispanic Media for the 2016 campaign cycle.  Speaking further to Chairwoman Allison Tant about this position,  Political Pasion asked her if the position would continue past 2016.  Chairwoman Tant stated: “It will be ongoing after ’16 as long as we have the budget to fund it.  I am committed to see this happen.  So now put the word out so we have good applicants!”  In addition, the party has hired Sheyla Asencios as their Hispanic Outreach Coordinator and she will start working with the FDP starting September.  Samantha Pedrosa, has also joined the FDP team and started in their finance department yesterday.  Allison Tant ended by saying: “We are building a great team!”  Here are the details for those who wish to apply to the position:

The Florida Democratic Party is seeking communications professional to serve as Press Secretary and Director of Hispanic Media for the 2016 campaign cycle. 

This position will assist the communications director in the day-to-day responsibilities of the communications department and will oversee Spanish-language communication for the Party. This will include on-the-record conversations with local, state, and national media, and the drafting and translating of press releases, op-eds, and social media content.

The job will be based in South Florida with frequent travel to Tallahassee and statewide.

Responsibilities: 

  • Assist the communications director in day-to-day press responsibilities and rapid response
  • Develop relationship with Hispanic press outlets and reporters
  • Manage Spanish-speaking surrogates throughout Florida
  • Organize, pitch, and execute earned media events targeted at Hispanic media outlets
  • Write or translate press releases, op-eds, and social media posts
Qualifications: 
  • Fluency in Spanish (speaking, reading, and writing)
  • Experience with media, public relations, or journalism
  • Demonstrated exceptional

Please email resumes to Max Steele at msteele@fladems.com

Venezuelan-American In Doral Asks His City Council To Break Ties With Trump

Carlos Pereira By Evelyn Perez-Verdia

Carlos Pereira, a Venezuelan-American who lives in Doral, Florida and also is involved in politics in Miami has sent a letter to The
Doral City Council asking them to break all ties with Donald Trump, and to ask Trump to return the keys of the city due to his generalized racist remarks  toward the Mexican community of the United States. Trump called them rapists and drug dealers.  Pereira had already sent a letter to Mayor Boria and did not receive a response.

Here is Carlos Pereira’s letter:

Dear Members of the Doral City Council:

Not having received a response to my letter regarding our relationship with Donald Trump that I wrote to our distinguished Mayor and with copies sent to all of you, I want this letter to express my disappointment and concern at the “intellectual cowardice” in the city of Doral.

I wish to inform you that I keep getting calls from neighbors and friends outraged by nothing being done to change our relationship with Donald Trump. I want to alert you that the majority of the residents of this City are greatly affected. As an example, I quote from a letter about a poem by Martin Niemoller that I received from a neighbor:

First they came …” is a famous statement and provocative poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

This poem is frequently quoted, and is a popular model for describing the dangers of political apathy.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

(And now they are coming for the Mexicans and you are saying nothing) Carlos Pereira.

The famous author and Irish philosopher, Edmund Burke wrote the following thoughts with which we can all totally agree:

  • The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
  • All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
  • Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver.

With respect to the relationship of the city of Doral and Donald Trump, the promotion of hatred is a moral corruption. Thus in the city of Doral we do not need or want the benefits of Mr. Trump’s racism. That is why I am sending each of you this plea that the city of Doral has to break our relationship with Donald Trump by withdrawing the key to the city and declaring him persona non grata.

-Carlos Pereira

Boria Trump

Mayor Boria with Donald Trump

In an interview with the Miami paper Diario de las Americas, Boria said the following:  “I do not regret giving him the distinction of the Key of the City…it is like if we made reference to a sports champion who won a medal, and months later this athlete becomes insane.  We can’t ask him to return this distinction.” Boria also placed two statements on his Facebook page showing his disagreement with Trump’s words.

Yet, Mr Pereira thinks it is not enough.  “Today, we are all Mexicans.  What Trump is promoting is called hate, and this is morally corrupt.  As Latinamericans, we can not permit this hate toward the Mexican population”, said Pereira to Political Pasion.   Mr. Pereira is heavily involved with the Democratic Party.  Regardless of his party affiliation, would we not think that a constituent of the City of Doral needs to receive a response for his or her concerns?

Jeb Is In: Let The “Batalla” Begin!

Jeb

By Evelyn Perez-Verdia

Jeb Bush wants to make it clear that the Hispanic vote is important to him.  According to a Pew Research Poll, 64% of Hispanics living in the United States are Mexican-Americans like his wife, Columba Bush.  Many Mexican-Americans tend to be Democrats.  And Democrats can’t afford to lose them to Jeb. So here is how the batalla (battle) goes:

Los Demócratas Pegan Duro (Hit Hard)

On Monday, June 15, 2015, Democrats swung hard at a press conference at Florida International University, prior to Jeb Bush’s announcement for president at Miami Dade College in Kendall, Florida. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (a Caucasian Jewish woman and the chair of the Democratic National Committee) punched hard as she stated that “King Jeb” only looks out for himself and for people like him.  She did what Democratic strategists plan to do from here on forward: never stop connecting him to his brother and father and stating that America is still “digging out of the hole” that his brother George W. created.

DHCFWS

The chair of the DNC was accompanied by the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida, a group of volunteers who are doing the job of being very present in the community and being a voice that shows that Democrats care for Hispanics. On the other hand, the Florida Democratic Party says they do not have the budget to focus on Hispanics.

The Army of the United Colors of Benneton, Just Better Dressed

At Jeb’s presidential announcement, never in my life had I seen so many outfits on women that I wanted in my closet, so many media outlets, so many Asian-Americans at a rally and people in media showing their spicy moves (see reporter dancing behind me in video)

According to University of South Florida political scientist, Dr. Susan MacManus, Asian-Americans are the fastest growing minority group in Florida, even surpassing Hispanics.  They tend to be Independent.  They supported Obama in the past, and they have also supported Republicans, which makes them a potential swing vote.

Asiansforjeb

One thing is certain, Jeb made sure that when he announced his candidacy for president, the moment would be about him, his beliefs and about his multicultural army.  He wanted for everyone to have not one bit of doubt that he can attract people of all communities— Helen Aguirre Ferre, the first woman to chair of the Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College gave an amazing speech filled with vigor and bilingualism.  Toni Jennings, a Republican and the first female Lieutenant Governor of Florida talked about her times with Jeb and about the Hurricane days.  The whole room had chills when the African-American Reverend R.B. Holmes Jr. of Tallahassee, Florida gave a speech that had a Martin Luther King Jr. tune and words that supported a Republican.

Adios “Bush”

Jeb, who wished to be seen as his own person, has decided to leave the name “Bush” in the past by deleting it from his campaign, focusing on his immediate family, and his mom; Barbara Bush who ties with Hillary Clinton as the most admired First Lady in the United States according to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll.

George the father and George W. the brother were not present.  And as we talk about political battles, the reminder of war and extreme spending was not an issue that I am sure Jeb wanted to make present.  When I asked Laura Hinojosa, a 36 year old, Colombian-American Democrat who lives in Delray Beach, Florida what she thought about Governor Bush.  She said: “For me the problem is that when I hear the name “Bush” all I can think of are the useless wars and spending they got this country into.  We have always gone to war for interests such as petroleum and in places where it should not be our war.  Why are we not in war in places where there are truly human violations and people are dying of hunger?  I have not analyzed him.  However at the end of the day, he is a “Bush”.  Interesting, the Pew Research Center has not polled Hispanics on their position on war since 2007.  I cannot find any major pollster asking Hispanics what they think about going back to war.

Yes, Jeb is a White Caucasian Male

Over and over I saw that in terms of the organization of the event, every single candidate was slapped on their face with a white glove.  However, some critics say that Jeb let everyone speak, but the white male which people state Jeb is doing so poorly with.  Due to so much Latin “sabor” (flavor), have people forgotten that he is a white male?    Some say that he should have paid a little more attention to the white vote at the event or have included a white male for that reason.  He does need the white vote to win.  Romney had 59% of the white vote in 2012.  Yet, in order for any candidate to win, everyone is aware that they will need a slice of each community to be victorious.

The Undeniable Latino Strategy:

What better surrogates than your own good-looking (in my humble opinion) sons.  As I stood with the media, the moment when I heard the cameras click out of control was when “46” as some Republicans like to call George P. Bush and Jeb’s son took the microphone.  George P looked right into the camera, and in perfect Spanish said: “Tu vales muchisimo. Tu hermano hispano.””You matter so much, you, Hispanic brother.”  They were powerful words that touched the pain of many who feel disrespected, forgotten and racially harassed in “the land of the free”.

46

Yet, Democrats continue to say to be careful.  “In spite of his rhetoric, Jeb Bush is no friend of the Latino community.” said Maurizio Passariello, the recently named South Florida Public Relations Director for the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida. “His lack of support for President Obama’s efforts to offer relief to undocumented immigrants and keep families together.  His indifference to the plight of Latinas working full time, who are making 56 cents for every dollar paid to a white non-Hispanic male and his plans to gut education spending, from early education through Pell Grants, clearly demonstrate that.  He may speak our language, but he certainly does not understand our priorities.”

Are Hispanics Truly in The Democrat’s Pocket?

Being that Jeb Bush is from Florida and Hispanics in Florida had largest voter turnout from any state in the nation in 2012, it is time for the campaigns to take the Latino vote seriously.  Just because so many Hispanics are Democrats, it does not mean they are faithful to the party.  At the end of the day, they will pick who they like the most.

Jason Rubinstein, is an Ecuadorian-American Democrat with Jewish roots and Catholic upbringing who has placed an Obama sign in his front yard in the past.  He has a master’s degree, an excellent job, speaks perfect English, and is the son of a former diplomat.    He also was one of the many who signed a petition that asked the Florida parties to give the community a bilingual Communications Director. This time, he says that Jeb has his vote, depending on who is his VP.  He hopes it will be someone from the minority community and hopefully a woman.  It is one of those moments, where you look at what just happened and then you look a second time in disbelief.  My reaction is exactly what can happen to the Democrats in 2016 if they do not get a bit more serious and start hiring Hispanics to be a fundamental part of their organization.  I am not just talking about Hillary Clinton who has done an excellent job doing so.  I am talking about involving Hispanic professionals (and paying them a just amount) in all campaigns where there is a large Hispanic population.  It shows that the Democratic Party should not believe that Hispanic Democrats are in their pocket.

Why is Jason voting for Jeb? 

“I think this a good alternative for the Democrats and for people like me who are not left wing nut jobs.”  Says the Tampa native as we speak in Spanish.   “Por mas Bush que sea” (Even though he is a Bush), I believe he is different from his brother.  More open to the immigration issue which hits home.  Due to the terrible situation that Ecuador lives in, I know people who are here undocumented.  I could never support a person who does not support these people.  It would be to go against “my people”.  What I admire the most about him is that he had “los huevos” (the balls) to be of the ultra-conservative American aristocracy and that he would have married a Mexican girl with no money.  Imagine what that must have been for them 40 years ago.  “Tienes que tener bien puesto los pantalones para hacer eso, no te parece?”  “You need to have guts to do something like that, don’t you think?”

It is true.  According to a NY Mag article, after Reagan-Bush won the White House ticket, Jeb moved to Florida due to his wife experiencing racism among their white, Republican circles in Houston.  When he was asked about it, according to the article, he said: “Subtle, sublte.  It’s very different now, very welcoming, very open, particularly the big open areas.”  Yet still not in places like Charleston, South Carolina, I suppose.

Think Again

Jeb being in the race is a “batalla” to definitely not take for granted.  We live in a time where you can no longer win with the white vote alone.  The parties need to get serious which means investing in our communities and not expect for us to do everything for free while they pay hefty sums to others. We are aware of the racism that exists.  We are aware because of the current positions we continue to have in terms of leadership.  It definitely is not due to lack of leadership and expertise within all minority communities.  As a community, you do not need to say anything, and we know it.  We know when we are being pandered to.  We know when we are being disrespected.  Yet we remain quiet sometimes for fear of losing those promises that never happen.  Those days are over, and if you do not pay attention, if you do not show respect for what makes America beautiful, and come to the realization that we are part of that beauty… you will lose the battle.  A battle that Jeb seems to clearly understand.

#enespañol

EnespanolPor Evelyn Perez-Verdia

  • De acuerdo con el Centro de Investigación Pew 35.8 millones de Hispanos hablan español en su casa.
  • De acuerdo con la Oficina del Censo de los Estados Unidos aproximadamente 3.6 millones de residentes en la Florida hablan español.
  • Muchos  candidatos y partidos políticos de diferentes estados en los Estados Unidos no incorporan el español en sus páginas web.
  •  Muchos no tienen directores de comunicación que son fluidos en el español.
  • Por medio de La Ley del Derecho del Voto, el Departamento de Justicia requiere que las oficinas de elecciones tengan información en español si más del 5 por ciento de los ciudadanos que tienen edad para votar son considerados parte de ese grupo de lenguaje minoritario y tiene un inglés limitado.
  • En Florida, los condados de Broward, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach y Polk se les requiere por ley proveer asistencia en español.
  • El partido Democrata y Republicano de la Florida no tienen su pagina web tambien traducida al español.
  • El Partido Republicano de la Florida acaba de contratar a un director de comunicaciones bilingüe, pero el Partido Republicano de Texas y California todavía no tienen a un director de comunicaciones bilingüe. El Partido Demócrata de California y Texas tienen directores de comunicaciones bilingües, pero el Partido Demócrata de la Florida todavía no.

It is pretty tough when you are not proficient in a language, right?  To read in English, go here: https://politicalpasionespanol.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/enespanol-campaign/

#enespañol

Thought Provoker: Jim Cason, Mayor of Coral Gables, Florida

It is a pleasure to have Mayor Jim Cason as a “Thought Provoker” on Political Pasión.  These “Thought Provokers” are individuals (or a group) that make a difference in our community and challenge us to do the same.

Script translated into English:

Evelyn Perez-Verdia: “This is Evelyn Perez-Verdia with Political Pasion and here we are with Mayor Jim Cason of Coral Gables.  First of all,  congratulations on your most recent win as mayor of Coral Gables.”

Mayor Cason:  “Thank  you.  Three elections in four years.”

Evelyn Perez-Verdia: “Wow, incredible.  We are here Mayor Cason to talk about something that is important to us.  Could you share with us why it is important for Hispanics to go out and vote?”

Mayor Cason: “I would say that in many places in Latin America–I have lived in 15 countries and the opportunity to vote is not presented for various reasons.  In Cuba you can not vote because their is no voting.  Other countries can not vote due to poverty or  due to their system in which the people can not vote freely or their vote is stolen.  That is why it is important for people who have the opportunity to vote, to do so.   Political power comes from voting and politicians are going to hear those who vote.  So, if people do not vote, they are not going to influence the decisions of the government.”

Evelyn Perez-Verdia:  “What do you think the Hispanic lacks so that he or she goes out to vote?”

Mayor Cason: “Here in the United States?”

Evelyn Perez-Verdia: “Yes.”

Mayor Cason: “I believe that here the elderly vote more than the youth.  In the case of Coral Gables, a great part of the residents are Cuban-Americans who left their country in ’61 and they recognize the importance of the vote, they have passion and want to express their points of view.  The youth, not only Hispanics but all of those of the same nature do not vote.  They come out in presidential elections and come out in November.  Yet in local elections for an example, very few vote.   They do not see how it influences their life and what happens in a city, yet they are incorrect.  Everyone should vote, especially the youth. Sometimes things go well and they don’t feel it is necessary to vote.  It is always necessary to vote. Here in Coral Gables, twenty-five percent vote in the elections, on a good day. Twenty-five percent of the voters that are registered.”

Evelyn Perez-Verdia:  “Wow.  Well to finalize, could you give a message to the youth about the importance of going out to vote and why it is important.”

Mayor Cason:  “If the youth have a vision of how their country and their community should be, it is not going to happen by them waiting on a miracle.  It will need to happen through a political process.  If they do not vote we are not going to know what they want, we are just going to assume–and what they want is not going to happen.”

Evelyn Perez-Verdia: “Exactly. Thank you very much, Mayor.”

Mayor Cason: “You are welcome.”

Underestimating Marco Rubio’s Diversity Factor?

SenatorRubio By Evelyn Perez-Verdia

 

As U.S. Florida Senator Marco Rubio trails Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in white votes 43%-45% according to the most recent Quinnipiac poll, the Democrats say that Rubio still does not have a chance of winning due to his stance on rapprochement with Cuba and also his position on immigration reform.  The Republicans seem to believe that if he continues targeting the middle class and poor through his personal stories, and focuses on the Latinos who think just like them, he has a chance of getting that 35% percent of the Hispanic vote that he needs.  The strategy is that he does not need to convince all Hispanics, just the conservative ones that support his cause.

On Monday, April 13th, I had the opportunity to view the diversity of individuals from outside of the iconic Freedom Tower in Miami at Marco Rubio’s announcement for President of the United States.

Los Cubano-Americanos  (The Cuban-Americans)

While only 5% of Latino populations in the U.S. are Cuban-American, the majority in favor of Rubio (if not faithful to Jeb Bush) are conservative Cuban-Americans.  We had the Sugar King Jose Pepe Fanjul (Fan-Yul in English, Fan-hul in Spanish) present at Rubio’s announcement and who a couple weeks later will have a fundraiser for him in West Palm Beach.  Like in many families, there is a brother that is a Democrat and one who is a Republican–Pepe Jr. is the Republican.   At the event we also saw proud Cuban-American women holding the Cuban flag, and wearing not one, but two lapel pins with Rubio’s handsome (according to Latinas between the ages of 35-80) face on them. Four Cuban-Americans who were hyped after Rubio’s announcement, stood in front of freedom tower (one with pink pants, white shoes and without socks) screaming at the climate change protestors: “Comunistas!” while reporter Michael Putney from Channel 10 was interviewing a Jewish man who supported Rubio.

 

 Los Latinos (Self explanatory)

There was a bilingual Hispanic man (not Cuban) holding Marco’ Rubio’s book while his baby son wore a shirt that said “Future President of The United States”. Venezuelan-American conservatives, who also carry a similar pain as many conservative Cuban-Americans, support Rubio.   We saw people like Mayor of the City of Doral, Luigi Boria.   Also present was the well known Colombian-American Fabio Andrade, who moves the Latin-American masses in South Florida and who strongly says: “Si, yo estoy con el” (yes, I am with him).  Fabio has worked with Bush before.  May we not forget that Marco’s wife, Jeannette Dousdebes is Colombian-American.

Los Jovenes (The Youth)

A young generation of white Anglo Saxon teenage kids were also in full support. One caught my eye as he was wearing a t-shirt with the American eagle on it as he screamed “Whoo!” for Rubio and watched the speech on the Jumbo Tron.  Behind them were the DACA kids or who we also call the “DREAMers” protesting and asking Rubio “What about my dream?!” as the senator continued to say that his father stood behind a bar in the back of the room so that he could stand behind a podium, in front of the room he was in.

20150413_182117_resized[1]

Los Espirituales (The Spiritual Ones)

As Senator Rubio’s guests left with smiles on their face, I saw a priest walk calmly out of the tower as he contently watched the different people who surrounded him.  I asked him if I could interview him.  He complied with a cool demeanor.  According to the priest, a protestant pastor prayed for Senator Rubio, before his announcement, yet Father Dan Beeman lives in Virginia and was the priest who prayed for Rubio after he announced he would run for President of the United States.  As you see in the video, he mentions how impressed he was by the diversity of the crowd. From his Twitter account, this priest seems to know how to bring back Catholicism in a cool light to Millenials as he drinks beer with the Marco Team and says on Twitter that the most difficult thing of Marco’s event was not screaming “Polo”.   According to The Pew Research Center’s 2013 National Survey of Latinos and Religion, 55% of the nation’s 34.5 million Hispanics identify as Catholic.

Here is Father Beeman who you can find on Twitter:

En Español (You get this one too)

At his announcement for president, Rubio also targeted the Spanish-speaking abuela who usually goes unnoticed, living in the English-spoken home of her daughter or son, yet Marco spoke to her on TV as he mentioned the words his father said to him all “en español”.

Que Va A Importar? (What Will Matter?)

In the day and age where our youth are not in touch with the policies of the candidate, all they will see and be attracted to is the youth that Rubio brings to the table.  However, the Clinton campaign believes that if they get the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro to be her Vice-President, they will cover this demographic also.  Castro is Hispanic, yet he does not speak Spanish.  However it seems that this is the conversation that they will have with the guy  who produces the commercial: “It’s all good, man.  He is a Latino.  What we are going to do is have a guy 20 years older than him translate what he is saying in Spanish, and it will work out perfectly.” This is where Democrats need to seriously ask themselves if having a Hispanic on the ticket, even though he does not speak Spanish will be enough.  Hillary may run against two potential candidates that have this gift (Bush or Rubio).

According to a quote Rice University political scientist Mark Jones gave to the Texas Tribune: “Any Hispanic politician that doesn’t have that skill set is disadvantaged, in part, because they don’t have the ability connect in the same way with a key segment of the voting public.   Language helps demonstrate commitment and a level of connection that is important with many voters whose dominant language is Spanish.”  It is definitely something that the other candidates might underestimate of Rubio and something to seriously think about for 2016.

The Power of Rubio’s Message

As I hear Democrats and Republicans talk about the fact that Marco Rubio does not have a chance.   At his event he showed the power he has to bring people together from different communities—it is something no candidate should take for granted.

Marco reached out to Millennials with his Pitbull music playing (which he knows personally and on first name basis) and painting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as someone from “yesterday” very similarly as the young Bill Clinton did in his campaign when he spoke about George H. Bush.

There are definitely some clear differences in policy between Bush, Clinton and Rubio that affects us as Latinos.  Yet, in the day and age where most voters do not look at the policies of a candidate, but in how much they like him, Rubio has that in for him also.  The big pocket Koch Brothers definitely understand this and that is why the plan to back him.  Which means that Senator Rubio will have unimaginable amounts of money to give a bilingual message.

Truly, we all know that the physical attractiveness of the person should not be the basis of any campaign, but sadly that is what politics has come down to. How much can an ad convince you that he or she is the one?  How much can they bring to life through words your vision for America?  How much can you bear looking at them for the next four or eight years?  If he only had the skills to play the saxophone on a late night show.  The diversity that Rubio brings is definitely something not to underestimate.

Media Does Not Attend A Press Conference Regarding Hispanics In State Capitol

Lobby Days

DHCF meet at Florida Turnpike to head to Tallahassee to advocate for issues that affect Hispanics.

By Evelyn Perez-Verdia

Members of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida visited Tallahassee today to lobby legislators on issues  they believe are important to Hispanics in Florida.

“Today, the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida is in the State Capitol advocating for our Latino community in the issues that will improve their quality of life such as state minimum wage, driver license requirements, employment discrimination and many other bills that will lead to a positive change for our community,” said Vivian Rodriguez, President of the DHCF  “We will be lobbying on behalf of the countless Hispanic voices that need to be heard in Tallahassee”

Yet, when the DHCF scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, March 25, at 11:45 am in front of the Senate Chamber to report on its progress, forty people were left standing behind a podium with no one to share their efforts with.  Media did not attend or cover the event–The question is Why?

DHCF at Lobby Days.  March 25, 2015

DHCF at Lobby Days. March 25, 2015

This was the second year that the DHCF visits the state capital to try to influence its representatives on the following bills:

HB 25 – Employment Discrimination

Designates act as “Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act”; provides legislative findings & intent relating to equal pay for equal work for women; recognizes importance of DEO & FHRC in ensuring fair pay; provides for duties of department & commission; creates Governor’s Recognition Award for Pay Equity in Workplace.

SB 98: Employment Discrimination

Creating the Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act; recognizing the importance of the Department of Economic Opportunity and the Florida Commission on Human Relations in ensuring fair pay; creating the Governor’s Recognition Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace; requiring that the award be given annually to employers in this state which have engaged in activities that eliminate the barriers to equal pay for equal work for women, etc.

Support

HB 33 – Prohibited Discrimination

General Bill by Raschein (CO-SPONSORS) Edwards; Hager; Jenne; Jones, S.; Moskowitz; Richardson; Stark

Creates “Florida Competitive Workforce Act”; prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity or expression; defines terms; provides exceptions for constitutionally protected free exercise of religion.

SB 156: Prohibited Discrimination

GENERAL BILL by Abruzzo

Creating the “Florida Competitive Workforce Act”; revising provisions to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and the perception of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, handicap, or marital status as impermissible grounds for discrimination; adding sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as impermissible grounds for discrimination, etc.

Support

SB 300: Driver Licenses and Identification Cards

GENERAL BILL by Garcia ; (CO-INTRODUCERS) Bullard

Driver Licenses and Identification Cards; Requiring proof of a taxpayer identification number or other specified identification number for certain applicants for a driver license; authorizing additional specified documents that are issued by foreign governments to satisfy proof of identity requirements; prohibiting the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to waive certain tests for applicants who provide specified proof of identity documents; requiring the department to mark licenses to indicate compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005 under specified circumstances, etc.

SB 364: Driver License Requirements

GENERAL BILL by Soto

Including notice of the approval of an application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as valid proof of identity for purposes of applying for a driver license, etc.

Support

HB 47 – State Minimum Wage

General Bill by Stafford (CO-SPONSORS) Cortes, J.; Watson, B.

Increases state minimum wage; provides that an employer may not pay employee at rate less than state minimum wage; deletes requirement that only individuals entitled to receive federal minimum wage are eligible to receive state minimum wage.

SB 114: State Minimum Wage

GENERAL BILL by Bullard

Increasing the state minimum wage; prohibiting an employer from paying an employee at a rate less than the state minimum wage; deleting the requirement that only individuals entitled to receive the federal minimum wage are eligible to receive the state minimum wage, etc.

Support

SB 128: New Small Business Tax Credit

GENERAL BILL by Soto

Providing a tax credit to new small businesses in a specified amount for qualified employees; limiting the total amount of tax credit that may be taken as a deduction; prohibiting receipt of the tax credit through a refund of taxes previously paid; requiring a business to apply to the Department of Revenue for tax credit approval; authorizing an unused amount of tax credit to be carried forward for a specified period under certain circumstances, etc.

Support

SB 228: Online Voter Application

GENERAL BILL by Clemens

Requiring the Division of Elections of the Department of State to develop an online voter registration system; requiring the system to compare information submitted online with Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles records, etc.

Support

SB 280: Teacher Salaries

GENERAL BILL by Soto ; (CO-INTRODUCERS) Bullard

Citing this act as the “Florida Teacher Fair Pay Act”; requiring the Legislature to fund the Florida Education Finance Program at a level that ensures a guaranteed minimum annual starting salary for instructional personnel; requiring the Department of Education to annually adjust the minimum starting salary; providing a formula for calculating such adjustment; requiring district school boards to adjust the minimum starting salary determined by the department by applying the district cost differential; providing that such adjustment may not reduce starting salaries below the statewide minimum, etc.

Support

HB 4005 – Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms

General Bill by Steube (CO-SPONSORS) Baxley; Combee; Diaz, M.; Eagle; Hutson; Stone; Van Zant Deletes provision prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying handgun or carrying concealed weapon or firearm into college or university facility.

Oppose

I want to congratulate the DHCF and the Hispanic leaders who traveled statewide to advocate for what they believe is important for the Hispanic community.

Let’s hope next time people of influence will help this be made known to our community, and to Floridians by sharing with their media contacts.  Let’s hope that next time, media believes it is important enough for them to cover.  It is a winning message that Hispanics do matter in Florida.  When no one speaks, the message received is that it is okay to ignore us.

Hispanics in Florida Request Bilingual Spokesperson from Florida Political Parties

spokespersonBy Evelyn Perez-Verdia

Update March 11, 2015

In a group initiative, over 50 Hispanics from different counties in Florida, wrote a letter to the Florida Democratic Party and the Republican Party of Florida asking them to hire bilingual communications directors to produce and transcreate bilingual press releases, act as spokespeople and share news on social media for an ever growing Latino community that thirsts for information about the political climate in our state. The individuals are members of media in Spanish, Hispanic community leaders and concerned Hispanics.

Here is the letter:

United Hispanics/Latinos of Florida

President: Allison Tant, The Florida Democratic Party

President: Blaise Ingoglia, The Republican Party of Florida 

Dear Republican and Democratic parties of Florida,

As members of Florida’s Spanish-language media who cover politics, and individuals who care about the Hispanic community, we are troubled by the lack of Spanish or bilingual communication aimed at the Latino community by either party.

There is a dire need in your party for a bilingual communications director who has the ability to accurately relay your message to the Latino media.

In the last 2012 presidential election, Florida had the highest Hispanic voter turnout of the nation – 62 percent – compared to a national average of 49 percent. We surpassed states like Texas and California, yet the parties in those states recognize that reaching Latino voters and informing the media with culturally relevant messaging is important. For example, the Texas Democratic Party has a bilingual website and communication director.

Florida will be a key state in the 2016 presidential elections. According to the census, approximately 3.6 million Florida residents speak Spanish. We also have an increasing number of Hispanics registered to vote who list no party affiliation. Many do not understand the inner workings of the parties and the important work they do even before the official election season begins. In non-campaign years, our community still thirsts for information about the political climate in our state.

As community leaders and members of Spanish-language media, we take our role to inform the public seriously and urge both parties to rectify this situation. Adding Spanish-fluent communication directors to produce and transcreate bilingual press releases, act as spokespeople and share news on social media would be an asset to both parties.

Our intent here is to convince you that Hispanic engagement is crucial, no matter the political persuasion. Latino voters are the future of the American electorate. Do not pass up the opportunity to engage with our community in meaningful ways.

We appreciate your time and consideration in this matter.

List updated March 11, 2015

Sincerely,

(In alphabetical order)

Danny Alvarez, Attorney and Hispanic Community Leader- Hillsborough County

Carlos Barbosa, Vice President, G4S – Palm Beach County

Luis Eduardo Baron, Publisher, www.tvnet.us –Sarasota County, Florida

Annie Betancourt, Former State Representative-D116—Miami-Dade County

Luigi Boria, Mayor, the City of Doral

Norma Camero Reno, Hispanic community activist—Hillsborough County

Adriana Carrera, Publisher, www.lafamiliadebroward.com —Broward County

Liliana Castaño, Web Content Editor, Mayin Media INC—Broward County

Alan Clendenin, Vice Chairman, The Florida Democratic Party—Hillsborough County

Armando Chirinos, Publisher, http://www.venezuelaaldia.com

Benjamin F. DeYurre, Publisher, www.EconomyRecovery.Blogspot.Com –Miami-Dade County

Lourdes Diaz, President, Divercity Communications-Broward County

Maria Eugenia Fanti, Freelance Journalist and TV Producer-Miami-Dade County

Anna M. Figueroa, President, Vantaga Communications—Miami-Dade County

Cesar Gomez, Manatee County Young Republicans & Hispanic Leader–Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Ana Gonzalez- Student at Florida State University—Leon County

Jolie Gonzalez-Padilla, CEO/Publisher, Latin Times Media and Magazine – Florida

Luisana Gonzalez, Floridian Voter—Broward County

Dolores Guzman—Hispanic Community Leader—Volusia County

Maria Eldeny Hale-Sprinkle, DMI US Mission Director, Pasco County

Laura Hinojosa—Floridian Voter—Palm Beach County

Abel Ibarra, Writer, Miami-Dade County

Christian Leon, Hispanic Community Advocate-Hillsborough County

Tatiana Londoño, Supply Chain Director, Biomet 3i-Palm Beach Countyy

Rafael Lopez, Chair of the Hispanic Vote PAC- Broward County, Florida

Jesus E. Medina, Political Scientist and National Hispanic Community Leader, Miami-Dade County

Marianela Mendez, Editor, www.miamidiario.com –Miami-Dade County, Florida

Tony Morejon, Hispanic Community Leader. –Hillsborough County, Florida

Maggie Emmanuelle Nieto, Community Organizer, Miami-Dade Community Action and Human Services Dept.—Miami-Dade County

Orlando R Nieves, VP-IMS, Univision–Tampa Bay

Alfredo Ortega, Hispanic Community Advocate—Broward County

Pilar Ortiz, Hispanic Community Leader – Columnist (7 Dias Newspaper) – Hillsborough County

Maria Padilla, Publisher, www.orlandolatino.org- Orange County

Militse Padilla, Copy Desk Manager, http://www.venezuelaaldia.com

Victor Padilla, Vice-President, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay

Rafael Palacio, Editor, El Sentinel Orlando—Orange County

Luisa Pantin, U.S. Citizen and voter—Broward County

Carlos Pereira, President, Venezuelan American Democratic Club—Miami-Dade County

Evelyn Perez-Verdia, Founder, www.politicalpasion.com. –Broward County, Florida

Gonzalo Perez-Verdia, Vice President, Wealth Management—Broward County

Elizabeth Pines, Board Director, League of Women Voters of Florida—Miami-Dade County

Lorena Rivas Hardwick, Former Regional Political Director, Charlie Crist for Governor and current Legislative Aide Tampa City Council, Hillsborough County

Jason Rubinstein, Vice President – Portfolio Manager, Hillsborough County

Yvonne Salas, Publisher, Portada Florida Magazine- Florida

Gil Sanchez, Attorney and Hispanic Community Leader- Hillsborough

Maria Eunice Sanchez, U.S. Citizen since 2010 and Floridian voter-Broward County

Daniel Suarez, Hispanic Community Advocate- Hillsborough County.

Rey Valdes,  Hispanic Community Leader—Miami-Dade

Javier Torres, Venezuelan Attorney and Hispanic Community Leader- Hillsborough County.

Jonathan Torres, Tampa Bay Field Director, Hispanic Initiatives, Republican Party of Florida

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)-South Florida Chapter

Here is the following response from Chairman Blaise Ingoglia and Chairwoman Allison Tant in reference to our request:

Chair Letter to Perez-Verdia March 6, 2015

letter_3_10_15