Friday, December 28, 2012

10 Latino politicians to watch in 2013

Dr. Raul Ruiz is one of the new Latino members of Congress starting in January.

Of course we will be watching all Latino politicians as they welcome the new year with a lot on their legislative plates, be it the fiscal cliff or immigration reform. But here is a sample of the diversity of the Latinos who are either newly entering Congress or are coming back – hopefully ready to roll up their sleeves for a lot of work ahead.

Recently elected:
Joaquín Castro (D-TX)The national spotlight in 2012 was more focused on his twin brother Julián, the Mayor of San Antonio TX and the first Latino keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention. But Joaquín’s recent election to Congress gives him a chance to expand his state legislative agenda (he voted to restore education funds to Texas) and he is already on record saying Congress needs to tackle gun control.

Ted Cruz (R- TX) The newly-elected Cuban-American Senator from Texas does not shy away from his very conservative social as well as fiscal views, including  privatizing Social Security. While November’s election loss has spurred some Republicans to weigh moving more to the mainstream on some issues, Cruz is not one of them. Reducing the size of government is among his main legislative aims.

Mary Gonzalez (D- El Paso, TX) - The newly-elected state legislator has defied convention by running for office while declaring herself openly gay and a ‘pansexual’ who does not subscribe to gender stereotypes. Gonzalez, who is pursuing a PhD in education, hopes to utilize her background in education and community activism to increase programs and opportunities at the state level.

Michelle Lujan Grisham  (D- NM) - As New Mexico’s former Dept of Health Secretary, Lujan Grisham increased access to school-based health centers, increased women’s reproductive health funding and reduced teen pregnancies, and increased childhood immunization rates. Other areas of expertise were senior citizens’care and exposing elderly abuse, all topics Lujan Grisham plans to continue in the U.S. Congress.

Raul Ruiz  (D -CA) – The son of migrant workers who went on to Harvard Medical School and became an emergency room doctor – only to beat a wealthy Republican incumbent for Congress – the Latino doctor will now have a chance to work on issues which he has said affect patients’ health, such as education, job opportunities and how healthcare dollars are spent.
Current legislators: 

Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) - The majority of Latino voters favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and the Illinois congressman, a longtime advocate of the Dream Act and immigration reform, has said this is the time to get it done.  Gutierrez has been meeting with other legislators “across the aisle” in the hopes of getting a bi-partisan proposal on the table.

Raul Labrador (R-ID) - The new Idaho congressman was born in Puerto Rico, and is a Mormon and a conservative Republican.  As an attorney who handled immigration cases, he is now assigned to the Judiciary Committee and will have a chance to help shape immigration reform. Though he does not favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, Congressman Luis Gutierrez recently said to Politico Labrador has the background on immigration “and wants to get this done.”

Governor Susana Martinez (R-NM) - In 2012, Martinez carved her own path in the GOP, delivering a passionate, well-received speech at the Republican convention, yet condemning Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” and “47 percent” comments.  Martinez opposes giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in New Mexico for security reasons, yet said Arizona’s immigration laws were not for her state, showing the different positions Latino legislators have on the issue.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) - Now that Senator John Kerry has been nominated for Secretary of State, Senator Bob Menendez might head the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee (he currently heads a subcommittee).  The Democratic Senator is also one of the leading proponents of immigration reform and will play a key role in the upcoming year.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) - 2012 was quite a year for Senator Rubio, as the young legislator introduced presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Republican National convention and was even in the running as a vice presidential pick.  The Senator penned his autobiography and was the subject of a biography.  But after Latino voters gave Republicans the cold shoulder in November’s elections, many are looking to see if Rubio can “soften” his party’s image as the issues of immigration reform and fiscal challenges require bipartisan solutions in a pretty divided atmosphere.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas From Jimmy's Politico

"We want to wish all our readers and supporters a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!"

- Jimmy's Politico

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Opinion: People are the problem, not guns

Community members in Newtown, Connecticut try to console themselves after the school massacre.
Community members in Newtown, Connecticut try to console themselves after the school massacre. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

We’re told America is a violent society with a “fatally counterproductive national identity”, says the German magazine Spiegel Online.

We certainly do have a violent cultural undertow in this country, though it has been getting less violent over the years. Americans are also culturally apathetic. Many more kids die every year to gun violence than did at Sandy Hook Elementary, yet the political energy to address gun violence can’t get any wind at its back until something grotesquely tragic happens.

And when it does happen, the anti-gun folks can hardly contain themselves. The call for banning assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and limiting ammunition sales came out rapidly, as if these folks have a template press release ready with blank spaces for the next Aurora, Colorado.

The Christian conservatives on the right were predictably moronic. Mike Huckabee claimed we shouldn’t be surprised by such events because we’ve systematically removed God from our schools.

Our government was born from violent revolution, and we’ve been perpetually at war with others and ourselves since then. We are a violent society because our glory and power was born from it and we require steady doses of it in peacetime. We revere Al Capone and Jesse James and the quickest pathway to fame in America involves beating up your girlfriend.

Guns are invariably part of American culture. They aren’t going anywhere. The Supreme Court rightfully declared that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. In true American cultural fashion, gun ownership is a civil right in this country, like the right to free speech. Europe has no comparable acknowledgement of this right in their institutions.

Banning guns won’t work and we already have reams of laws on the books that regulates the sale of firearms at the federal level and the states. Like it or not, the right to keep and bear arms is indeed a civil right. The Supreme Court’s decision declaring the Second Amendment an individual right left some room for regulations, but they have already struck down laws from the strictest jurisdictions in the country, Washington D.C. and Chicago.

Yet, there are solutions. Aside from the sudden desire to address mental health in America by Republicans, it is true that this country has been appallingly deficient in our attention to mental health.

The last four mass killings were committed by people who had some mental illness; Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech killer, was seen as a troubled individual by a counselor. A psychiatrist who treated the Aurora, Colorado shooter, James Holmes, was so concerned about his state of mind that he contacted the police.

The shooter in Arizona, Jared Loughner, had an extended record of run-ins with police and his actions surprised nobody when his killing spree hit the news. And the killer at the Sikh temple, Wade Michael Page, was a known sociopath who spewed hatred across the country.

Its seems that rather than focusing on guns, we need to focus primarily on the informational barriers between identifying these people and the authorities charged with acting on that information.

Jared Loughner was kicked out of college and administrators would not allow him back in without a psychiatric evaluation. This decision to act on information by the school possibly saved lives at Pima College.

Yet once he left school, there was nobody to pick up the scent on him. If we are to prevent the next Sandy Hook, we should of course review the gun regulations on the books, but gun bans are not going to change the fundamental problem.

Just after the tragedy in Newtown, two potential killers were reported and arrested; one in Indiana and another in Oklahoma. Both made threats or made plans to kill multiple kids, but the difference was not gun regulations, gun bans or ammunition restrictions. The difference was vigilance by members of society who saw the signs and contacted authorities, and that information was acted upon by them.

We are indeed a violent nation, and we are also notoriously apathetic. Events like Sandy Hook Elementary have brought us together, and has chipped away at that apathy for now, but the answer to prevention lies less on a prolonged political fight over regulations that will get us nowhere and more on a greater appreciation for our responsibilities as a community. Yes, let’s look at gun regulations, but we’ll get nowhere without first looking at ourselves.

Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Obama: I Would Be Considered Moderate Republican in 1980s

PHOTO: President Barack Obama waves to reporters as they shout questions to him regarding the fiscal cliff as he walks across Pennsylvania Avenue back to the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012

President Barack Obama believes that if he were president 25 years ago, his economic policies would make him a moderate Republican.

During an interview with Noticias Univision 23, the network's Miami affiliate newscast, Obama pushed back against the accusation made in some corners of south Florida's Cuban-American and Venezuelan communities that he wants to instill a socialist economic system in the U.S. The president said he believes few actually believe that.

"I don't know that there are a lot of Cubans or Venezuelans, Americans who believe that," Obama said. "The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican."
See Also: Obama Talks Tax Hikes on Twitter

Obama's comments come amid the contentious debate over how to resolve the "fiscal cliff," in which the White House and Congress are trying to figure out whether to extend a series of tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year while staving off steep spending cuts to domestic and defense programs set to go into place at the beginning of 2013.

For years amid the brooder debate over taxes and the size of government, Obama has been characterized by some on the right as a socialist who wants to redistribute wealth. They cite Obama's healthcare law in particular as a massive increase in the size of government.

Obama is seeking to eradicate that image as he tries to sell his economic plan to the public amid the fiscal cliff debate, which includes eliminating the low Bush-era tax rates for those families making more than $250,000 per year.

"What I believe in is a tax system that is fair. I don't think government can solve every problem. I think that we should make sure that we're helping young people go to school. We should make sure that our government is building good roads and bridges and hospitals and airports so that we have a good infrastructure," he said.

"I do believe that it makes sense that everyone in America, as rich as this country is, shouldn't go bankrupt because someone gets sick."

Republican leaders have largely rejected tax-rate increases repeatedly and said that Obama is not serious about reducing the federal budget deficit and reforming the nation's entitlement programs.

"The president's plan to avert the fiscal cliff still does not meet the two standards that I laid out the day after the election," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday.

"His plan does not fulfill his promise to bring a balanced approach to solving this problem. It's mainly tax hikes, and his plan does not begin to solve our debt crisis. It actually increases spending."

But Obama reiterated his belief that higher tax rates for upper-income earners should be part of a broader effort to reduce the deficit.

"We also need to reduce our deficit in a responsible way, that means revenue, asking the wealthiest to pay a little bit more taxes, protecting middle-class families. Then cutting out some programs that we don't need, passing responsible spending cuts. And I hope that we can get this resolved," he said. "We just need, you know, for Speaker Bohner and the House Republicans to step up and say they are ready to get going."
The Obama-as-a-socialist notion recently played out on the campaign trail. In an effort to energize anti-Obama sentiment among Cuban- and Venezuelan-American voters in south Florida, the Romney campaign ran a Spanish-language TV ad there one week before Election Day that tied Obama to Cuba's Castro brothers and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. The president's campaign took the unusual step of releasing its own ad in Spanish to counter the Romney ad.

Some on the left have long argued that the president's policy beliefs closely resemble moderate Republican views from the 1980s and 1990s. Ezra Klein made the argument in a 2011 column, citing his adoption of the individual health insurance mandate, an idea developed in conservative think tanks. Will Saletan of Slate made a similar argument this year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Keys to a California GOP comeback: camaraderie and good ideas

California State Capital in Sacramento

Paul Priolo remembers the last time Democrats enjoyed a supermajority in the state Assembly. He was the Republican leader. And his strategy was simple.

"I socialized with Democrats," he says. "That was my key to getting along and overcoming the handicap of their having a supermajority…. They were the leaders and the ones you tried to get next to.
"We'd fight during the day and go out to dinner together at night. But that's a thing of the past."
Yes, that's largely history. Thanks in part to then-Gov. Jerry Brown's post-Watergate political reform that ended the practice of lobbyists picking up the meal and bar tabs of legislators.
Today, instead of buying $20 dinners for lawmakers as they used to, special interests kick in $2,000 campaign donations at their cracker-and-cheese fundraisers.

But a bigger reason for the nighttime lifestyle change — in Sacramento as elsewhere — was the crackdown on drunk driving.

Increased partisanship and polarization also are at fault. Democratic and Republican legislators just don't hang as they used to.

"I got along quite well with Jerry, as a matter of fact," Priolo says. "He was part of our dinner group. We used to gather once a week for a crab feed and Jerry would come quite often. Course, he was uninvited. He just showed up and dominated the conversation. We tolerated him. After all, he was the governor."
A new Legislature will be sworn in Monday, and for the first time since the 1975-79 era, the Assembly will be controlled by an ironclad two-thirds Democratic majority.

In fact, for the first time in 80 years both houses will be dominated by supermajorities, enough heft for Democrats to pass any legislation without Republican support.

It'll be one-party control of the Capitol with Democrat Brown again ensconced in the governor's office. In the '30s, it was Republicans who wielded that kind of muscle. Democrats haven't since 1883.
Allan Hoffenblum, publisher of the California Target Book that handicaps legislative races, was a Republican political staffer when the GOP held only 23 of 80 Assembly seats in the 1970s. (Now they'll have 25 or 26, depending on a final vote tally, with just 11 of 40 seats projected in the Senate.)

"I remember someone calling a Republican caucus and when all the Republicans got up from their seats on the floor and went to the meeting, you couldn't tell anybody had left the Assembly," Hoffenblum says.
I called Priolo, who's 85, living in Sonoma and no longer a Republican. "Newt Gingrich was the final straw." He's now registered as nonpartisan.

In the '70s, Priolo was a moderate Republican assemblyman from Santa Monica. The Assembly GOP did seem relevant back then, regardless of feeble numbers. I asked Priolo whether he had any advice for the new superminority.

"Stop stonewalling on everything — being against everything," he answered. "Find out where you can work together" with Democrats. "You've got to sit down and B.S. and find some common ground.
"Personal relationships can go a long way. Course, that might have been my undoing too."

When the governor and Legislature failed to deliver property tax relief, voters in 1978 passed an initiative, Proposition 13, and ignited a nationwide anti-tax rebellion. Several conservative Republicans — called "Prop. 13 babies" — were elected to the Assembly and dumped Priolo as leader.

"They didn't like the idea that I did any kind of business with Democrats," he says.
Legislative camaraderie has been crumbling ever since.

 Republicans did crawl back. By 1994, they were strong enough to secure a bare-minimum, 41-vote Assembly majority. But because of Machiavellian maneuvering by Democratic Speaker Willie Brown of San Francisco, it took Republicans one year to fully gain control of the house. And Democrats seized it again in 1996.

Then-Assembly Republican Leader Jim Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga plotted the brief GOP takeover and later became Senate minority leader. Currently he's being recruited by business leaders and party pragmatists to take over the pathetic state GOP.

I asked him what advice he'd give the few remaining Republican lawmakers."A good idea is a good idea regardless of how many Republicans are supporting it. If it's really a good idea, the Democrats will steal it and put their name on it. But the Republicans' goal should be to get good public policy enacted."

They can claim partial credit.The current Republican leaders don't seem to have a precise strategy.
"We will make the best of a bad situation," Senate GOP Leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar says. "It's uncharted territory."

"Education is ripe for reform," he adds. "And we'd like to get some traction with the majority party on regulatory reform."

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway of Tulare wants to rebrand the GOP. Voters have been hearing an inaccurate message, she asserts."This whole national tenor about Republicans being anti-women," Conway continues. "I don't know where that comes from. It's certainly not my message."

Dan Schnur, a former communications strategist for Republican Gov. Pete Wilson and current director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, says, "Republicans will wait for Democrats to overreach and then call them on it. But they've tried it that way and it hasn't worked out all that well.

"No legislator is sent to Sacramento to point fingers at the other side. Getting something done is better than simply criticizing."
Republicans are weak, but they're not immobile. They can start the long climb back. They can beat Democrats to the punch on practical ideas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Opinion: The browning of American democracy

Mi Familia Vota Canvassers look at their route plan to see which way to walk.

Much was made of the “missing white voters” when conservatives couldn’t believe that Romney had lost, but four years is a long time when you are of retirement age, of which the vast majority are white. 

If you want to know what contributed to these missing voters, perhaps a look at the death rate by race and ethnicity can provide clues. The Latino death rate, according to the Center for Disease Control, was 523 per 100,000 people for Hispanics, and 748 per 100,000 for non-Hispanic whites.

The share of the country’s white voters is shrinking, and with nature taking its course, the only way to make up that difference is through childbirth or immigration. Unless conservative white men want to give up their jobs to stay at home and watch the kids while their wives exercise their growing freedom to have children on their own schedules, or convince Ann Coulter to stop carrying water for white men and start making babies, this trend will continue to accelerate.

As conservatives tried to absorb the significance of the Presidential Election, there emerged fresh news that compounded their anxiety about the changing demographics of the country. Pew Research Center reported that the U.S. birth rate dropped to its lowest recorded level ever

Hispanic mothers made up 24 percent of the births, while whites made up 54 percent. Pew reports that, “Since 1990, the share of births to U.S.-born mothers who are white has decreased from 72 percent, while the share to U.S.-born mothers who are Hispanic has grown from 7 percent.”

This is likely a high watermark for white births because these numbers exclude the race or ethnicity of the father, and Hispanics intermarry at the highest rates among minorities. More than 1in 5 Hispanics “marry out” of their ethnicity.

The browning of America marches on, while the GOP struggle to adjust as an artifact of an old America yearning to hang on.

Practically lost in the discussion about this election is the significance of the coalition that won the office for President Obama. With the greatest diversity in race, ethnicity and gender ever exhibited in a Presidential Election, the force of the majority power structure could not withstand the weight of democracy on its shoulders. And with it will continue the decline of the vestiges of whiteness that began more than 400 years ago.

Future elections will need to acknowledge that a growing reliance on the appeals of the past will have electoral consequences at the national level. Latinos went from being a growing demographic to a powerful voting bloc largely because the GOP couldn’t figure out how to run on a platform of inclusion.

Marco Rubio made his pitch to change the image of the party yesterday at the Kemp Foundation, in which he said, “The existence of a large and vibrant middle class goes to the very essence of America’s exceptional identity.” That’s a good start, but Senator Rubio mentioned diversity in his speech exactly zero times, while repeating his commitment to the same policies the Republicans have been losing minorities and women on over the last twenty years.

The assumption by Mr. Rubio is that the GOP has a marketing problem, but not a substantive one, with minorities. That’s the attitude that needs to change. The problem is that minorities know very well what the GOP platform is.

In this new era of politics, that dynamics of the past have changed. This new coalition, should the Democrats do what they can to hold it together, could mean the beginning of the end of whiteness as we know it if the GOP can’t look in the mirror and accept that the problem is staring right back at them.

Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Op-ed: 10 things the GOP can do to turn the tide with Latino voters

Pedro Yazzie

(Pedro Yazzie, 27, makes phone calls Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 in Phoenix to registered voters from the offices of Mi Familia Vota, a non-partisan effort to increase voter participation among Latinos and others. (AP Photo/Matt York))

The 2012 elections were a wake-up call to Republicans and conservatives. Many were not expecting Obama to win reelection decisively, much less win at all. While the chorus of blame and finger-pointing ran rampant on television, radio, the blogosphere and social media, one underlying issue has been accepted: the GOP and conservatives must reverse the devastating trend with the Hispanic vote.

Since George W. Bush’s peak of receiving 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004, the GOP has been hemorrhaging support from this key electorate, with Romney receiving an embarrassing 27 percent of the Hispanic vote in his defeat. Meanwhile, the Hispanic electorate is likely to double by 2030 to a potential 40 million Latinos eligible to vote.

This is a primer not to place blame or say, “I told you so.” This is a plan that is meant to be a comprehensive starting guide for GOP insiders, politicians, and grassroots conservatives to address the problems we face with earning the Hispanic vote, while providing specific, targeted solutions. These are substantive strategies which can and should begin as soon as possible.

The more comprehensive primer we put together is available at the bottom of this piece.

I. Start Building the Ground Infrastructure — Now
At its core, the biggest problem the GOP and conservatives have with Hispanics and minority groups in general is a lack of a ground game. The GOP lags behind the Democrats because for years, the middle-aged to elderly white voting class has been the most reliable voting bloc, and they have traditionally voted for Republicans.

Therefore, conservatives and the GOP have never had the need for a major ground effort to bring them to the polls. The changing demographics in the United States necessitate a concerted ground effort from the GOP.

II. Head Into the Urban Centers
A subset on the issue is the seeming fear of urban outreach. The GOP and conservatives must accept they are going to have to do the hard work and reach out to Hispanics and other minority groups in what are generally Democratic strongholds: large cities and urban areas.

Facts show more and more people are moving towards the cities, and the GOP is running out of rural and suburban voters to engage with. In addition, these urban areas are where the vast majority of Hispanics and other minorities live. If conservatives and the GOP do not begin to set up an infrastructure now, we will not win in 2016.

III. Show Up!
Republicans need to start showing up at events and in the community, and this requires investment of time, effort, and leg work. It would be wise for campaigns and local GOP offices to keep track of cultural festivals in the area and reserve a booth in order to disseminate information. These are perfect venues for voter registration drives!

GOP candidates need to be appearing at these events because the Independent and Democrat candidates already do. And don’t just attend these events – hold them! If you are a GOP office or a local conservative group, hold cultural events or utilize Hispanic cultural celebrations to engage the community. For example, hold a family-friendly Three Kings Day Block Party at a local school with booths, food, dancing, and performances.

For a more educational twist, have an event promoting freedom on Jose Marti’s birthday (time to Google search who Jose Marti is). These are great ways to unite people while also having fun.
When phone banking and canvassing, go into the urban neighborhoods!

One consistently sees liberal candidates going door to door in black and Latino neighborhoods but never conservatives. How can conservatives expect minorities to vote conservative if they are never exposed to conservative principles?

IV Community Service
Have some free time on a Saturday? Take your family to do volunteer work or help a charity that focuses on the Latino community. This is a great way to give back, show compassion, stick to our cherished idea of private charity, and make connections in your local Latino communities.  Hispanics are disproportionately affected by high unemployment, poverty rates similar to those in Latin America, and lack of quality education.

V. Know Your Voter
With the success of the Obama campaign, it is now more important than ever that the party and grassroots organizations know who the potential voters are to the last detail. This realization is especially critical with the Hispanic population. Overall culture, traditions, political priorities, and even dialect of Spanish differ among Hispanic nationalities, so do your research prior to making those initial phone calls and setting up that first booth.

Also, realize that Hispanics are a young demographic and that Latino youth may not find ACDC cool – they may prefer artists like Jay-Z, and Wisin y Yandel. Turn to more creative mediums like spoken word, music, and dance when attempting to engage Latino youth. Become more culturally aware – pick up your local Hispanic newspaper and look through the events section, follow some conservative Latinos on twitter, and engage the Hispanics around you.

VI. Stop Throwing Out Nothing But Spanish TV Ads and Start Engaging Spanish Media
Because of the lack of a ground operation, the GOP has left itself to overly rely upon television ads and indirect forms of communication to try and reach the Hispanic audience. The problem is that television ads in general don’t have a very good return on investment, and will reach only a limited audience, especially in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. The way you speak to and spread a message to Hispanics is through direct, personal communication. Not through external and relatively “easy” marketing like television and radio ads.

The solution here for the GOP is to embrace and engage Spanish and minority media outlets; don’t just simply purchase airtime. Candidates should be doing interviews on radio and television and appear on the Sunday shows on Univision and Telemundo. Are they biased? Perhaps. But has that stopped GOP politicians and pundits from appearing on MSNBC, etc.? Of course not. Bear in mind that it shouldn’t just be Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez, or Raul Labrador doing all this work in Spanish media. Non-Hispanic politicians should be willing and able to go on these venues as well.

VII. Using and Speaking Spanish is a Must
Going beyond the ads, it appears that there are many in the conservative movement who are antagonistic about the use of Spanish-language media or communication. We hate to break it to some, but while we and many others are of the agreement that English should be the language of government, many Hispanics prefer to speak Spanish within their community.

Even those who are bilingual will speak Spanish with family and friends, as well as watch Spanish-language media. Since the end of the Mexican-American War, Spanish has been an integrated language in the United States. We say this only to address the hostilities some conservatives have towards the language. If you are going to reach out to the Hispanic community, Spanish must be a key component of it.

VIII. The Conservative Grassroots Must Get Involved and Help
In addition to not having a presence on the ground, non-Hispanic conservatives have been woefully inadequate at assisting Hispanic conservatives in spreading the message and lending support. This is a trend that must change. Because Hispanic conservatives are greatly outnumbered by Hispanic liberals, we desperately need the support of the grassroots movement help spread the message. Hispanic conservatives do not have the infrastructure to communicate on our own.

IX. The Rhetoric Must Be Addressed – But the Policy Need Not Completely Change
Immigration is an issue that must be addressed. There’s no going around it. And the biggest problem behind the immigration issue with the GOP and conservatives is the rhetoric used to advocate our position. The GOP/Conservative position has always been the rule of law. In other words, if one is to come to this country to live or work, one must adhere to the proper channels.

But the rhetoric, whether or not it is accurately described by the media, has been among the primary reasons Hispanics are turned off by the GOP. Statements like, “self-deportation,” “deport them all!” and “speak English! English only!” are slogans that are instant turn offs with Hispanics, regardless of whether you try to explain your position or not. It is an instant non-starter.

We’re not saying those conservatives who support the hard-line stance do not have a valid point or that they should cave into the “free and clear amnesty” advocates, but that the manner in which they articulate their position must change. In addition, the conservative position on immigration reform differs among the movement. This is an internal debate that conservatives all around must have.

RELATED: Latino Conservative Launches Pro-Immigration Super PAC

X. Take the Initiative on Puerto Rico
One specific issue that the GOP can utilize and take the initiative on is the status of Puerto Rico. For the first time the island voted made clear the desire to obtain statehood. The ironic aspect of this issue is that the more prominent Hispanic Democrats in the House are hostile towards statehood. The GOP has the opportunity to be champion and advocate for what is a growing Hispanic demographic. The right to self-delineate has been supported for Puerto Rico in the GOP platform for years.

The Latino vote, regardless of what the media says, is an opportunity we can no longer ignore or approach half-heartedly. Latinos are hard-working people who gave up their lives in their home countries to risk everything for a piece of the American Dream.

Appeal to that passion for life, the yearning for success, and the traditional values that celebrate family and community. Conservative principles are more beneficial for Latinos, and for everyone, than liberal ideology. We just need to put in the coordinated effort to make that crystal clear.

Full primer on conservative outreach to Hispanics
Samuel A. Rosado
Samuel A. Rosado is an attorney residing in New Jersey. He served as Executive Director of the Republican Hispanic Assembly of New Jersey in 2010, and has been a freelance contributor and writer on Hispanic issues and engagement for Politic365, The Daily Grito, and Misfit Politics. Follow him on twitter at @sarosado.

Brittney Morrett currently works promoting economic freedom to US Hispanic youth with a non-partisan, non-profit. In the past she has worked for the Leadership Institute and the Center for a Free Cuba. She has spoken at events and universities across the country on youth and Hispanic outreach. Follower her on twitter at @bmorrett.