The Hispanic Leadership Network (HLN) held a preliminary gathering this month to outline its objectives for 2013. The conservative group is positioning itself as a leading network for small-business development and Hispanic civic engagement.
The meeting was attended by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; former U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez; Rosario Marin, former U.S. Treasurer under President George W. Bush; and former Texas Rep. Quico Canseco. All are on HLN's national advisory committee.
HLN Executive Director Jennifer Sevilla Korn updated HispanicBusiness.com on the meeting and what the nonprofit will prioritize as objectives in 2013.
"What most people know about the HLN is that we focus on grassroots, communications, policy and advocacy," Ms. Korn told HispanicBusiness.com. "We are trying to grow the largest network of Hispanic advocates in the country. As you know, with the growing population, a growing voting electorate, growing buying power within the Hispanic community -- also we need to make sure that our Hispanic community is active in civic engagement and their voices are being heard with their elected officials."
The preliminary meeting, held in Miami on Jan. 11, was to talk about moving forward, what the plan is for 2013 and strategies for the near term. HLN plans to address the economy, education and immigration.
"We need Hispanics to be able to have gainful employment and to also be successful in their small businesses," Ms. Korn said. "Hispanic small businesses are the fastest-growing business in the country, but they are over-taxed, over-regulated and they are struggling.
"If the government can get out of the way and allow them to be prosperous, not only will they be more successful, but they would be able to employ more Hispanics as well," she added.
Ms. Korn has 18 years of experience as a conservative strategist, and previously served in the George W. Bush administration as director of Hispanic and Women's Affairs in the White House.
HLN held its inaugural conference in January 2011 with co-chairmen Bush and Gutierrez in attendance, as well as more than 600 Hispanic leaders from across the nation.
"We're really looking forward to 2013," Ms. Korn said, "and growing our organization and seeing Hispanics take a very big role in making sure that our government is held accountable, and that we return this country back to where opportunity and prosperity are those things that our children and our grandchildren can look forward to."
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