El Semanario
Posted on 02-24-2011

Important role the Latino community

Denver’s former Mayor, Federico Peña, along with 14 other Latino leaders from across the nation, met with President Obama
in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, to discuss a broad range of issues important to the Hispanic community and all Americans. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and other senior White House officials joined the President for the meeting.
The President reiterated his vision for winning the future, and the important role the Latino community will play in ensuring that our nation can out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build our global competitors in the 21st century.
The President also reiterated his commitment to reforming our immigration laws in a comprehensive manner to build a thriving economy, including elements like the DREAM Act so that we stop expelling young people who have grown up in America, want to further their education or serve in the military, and are ready to contribute to their country.
The President also previewed the budget the Administration presented last week, which will help the government live within its means while still investing in the future.



During the meeting, participants also discussed key achievements over the last two years and the impact they have had on the Latino community, from stopping the economic freefall, to making sure that every American has access to quality health care and patient protections, to reforms that strengthen education, and support for states that kept teachers, police, and firefighters on the job. It was noted during the meeting that Latinos have the highest rate of uninsured, as well as the highest high school drop-out rate, so reforms in both areas are vital for the growing Latino population.
The President and the Latino leaders agreed to continue to work to raise awareness in the Hispanic community on how these changes affect them.
Participants included: Henry Cisneros, Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Luis Cortés, Esperanza USA; Moises Denis, Nevada State Senator; Maria Elena Durazo, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor; Betsy Franceschini, Orlando, Florida community leader; Joe Garcia, Former U.S. Department of Energy Official; U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Iris Martinez, Illinois State Senator and Chair of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators and Chair of the DNC Hispanic Caucus; Eliseo Medina, Service Employees International Union; Margaret Moran, League of United Latin American Citizens; Janet Murguia, National Council of La Raza; Federico Peña, Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Former U.S. Secretary of Energy; Lillian Rodriguez Lopez, Chair, National Hispanic Leadership Agenda; Jose Villarreal, Ambassador to the US-Expo in Shanghai; and Arturo Vargas, National Association of Latino Elected Officials.