By Patricia Guadalupe
April 2001 - Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina was recently re-elected to a second term as vice-chair of the Washington, D.C.-based Democratic National Committee. Ms. Molina says she will concentrate on voter outreach efforts, with an eye on the important 2002 congressional elections. "My goal is to ensure that the party continues its voter outreach, particularly to Latino voters," she says. Also elected vice-chair was Linda Chávez-Thompson of the AFL-CIO.
MORE OUTREACH: Across the political aisle, Republicans also have been conducting outreach initiatives aimed at minority voters, including portraying the estate tax as unfair to minority business owners – particularly small-business owners. A repeal of the estate tax is part of President Bush's initiative to cut federal taxes. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich – seen by some Hispanics as a factor in the party's anti-Hispanic image of the last few years – is now urging party leaders to adopt an aggressive plan to garner more support in the minority community. "It is mathematically impossible to be a stable governing majority without Hispanic and African-American participation," he said during a meeting of the Republican Mainstreet Partnership in Washington, D.C. "It would be morally wrong even to try to build an exclusive majority."
CONGRESSIONAL FRIEND: Rep. Ciro Rodríguez (D-TX) has been awarded the 2001 Friend of the National Parks citation, given to members of Congress for helping to preserve the national parks system. Mr. Rodríguez is the sponsor of legislation that would designate as a National Historic Treasure Trail the series of trails known as El Camino Real de los Tejas, which runs from Mexico through Texas and Louisiana.
CAUCUS MEETS WITH FOX: A majority of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus attended the recent meeting in Guanajuato, Mexico, between George W. Bush and his Mexican counterpart, Vicente Fox, setting aside some time to meet separately with Mr. Fox and U.S. business representatives. "There is great optimism surrounding the future of Mexico with the end of 71 years of one-party rule," says caucus chairman Silvestre Reyes. "The members [of the Hispanic Caucus] are in a unique position in these meetings because many of us have the advantage of understanding the Mexican culture." The meetings focused on several key issues, including immigration and trade. "My colleagues and I are anxious to work with Mexico's new leadership. Whether the topic is immigration or business and trade, we need to try to reach an accord to find realistic solutions to our needs and concerns," says Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ), a former caucus chairman.
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