News Column

Washington Insider

September 2002, HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine

Patricia Guadalupe

HISPANIC GETS S.E.C. NOD: Roel Campos, a former broadcasting executive, recently became the first-ever Hispanic commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Campos, a co-founder of Houston-based El Dorado Communications, was also a former assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles. Born in Harlingen, Texas, to Mexican immigrant parents, Mr. Campos was recommended for the post by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). He was confirmed in a unanimous vote to a three-year term on the commission.

GARZA NOMINATED: President Bush has nominated Tony Garza to be U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Mr. Garza was elected as a Texas railroad commissioner in 1998. At the time of his nomination he was also serving as vice-chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, an organization representing governors of 37 oil- and gas-producing states. In 1994, then-Gov. Bush appointed Mr. Garza as Texas secretary of state and senior adviser. During his three-year tenure, he served as the state’s lead liaison on border and Mexican affairs, working on such issues as free trade, the environment, and border affairs. Previously, Mr. Garza served as a county judge.

GOP, DEMS COURT HISPANICS: With the key congressional elections just around the corner, the Democratic National Committee has established the Hispanic Business Council to aid in Hispanic outreach efforts (see Scene & Heard, p. 72). Not to be outdone, the GOP also has launched an aggressive outreach campaign, wooing Hispanic voters and campaigning on behalf of Hispanic Republican candidates. One lobbying effort is being sponsored by the GOP congressional delegation from California, where the Republican party is still trying to live down an “anti-Hispanic” image fostered during Pete Wilson’s tenure as governor in the 1990s. Though they say Hispanic skepticism is understandable, the legislators are confident that it can be overcome. “It’s easy to go where everybody loves you,” says Rep. Mary Bono, whose Southern California district is nearly 40 percent Latino. “It’s hard to go into a community where people are a little bit skeptical. I’ve always said that if we start slowly and take one step, people are going to start coming around and listening to what we have to say. As long as we follow up on what we say, we will capture more voters and keep them and recognize that their issues are our issues.”

SMALL-BIZ PROVISION: Included in the homeland security legislation passed by the House was an amendment sponsored by Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) requiring the new Department of Homeland Security to earmark 23 percent of its contracting work to small businesses. “America’s small businesses are the top innovators in the global economy,” Ms. Velázquez says. “In an age when high technology will help keep us one step ahead of those who would do us harm, we cannot afford to ignore the contributions our small companies can make.” Ms. Velázquez is the ranking Democrat on the House Small Business Committee. The legislation was co-sponsored by Republicans Darryl Issa of California and Heather Wilson of New Mexico.

Patricia Guadalupe covers Washington, D.C., for Hispanic Business.


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