“Depending upon their schedules and availability, I also hope to
meet with Marisol Ibarra and Margarita De León,
Adam Martínez, and Judge Keila Cosme [in Toledo],”
said Villa, who met with Cleveland-area Latino leaders last
(Director of the Hispanic Alliance) and with Victor Ruiz
(Director of Esperanza, Inc.).
Later this week, Villa plans on meeting Joel Arredondo, Dan
Ramos, and others in Lorain. In Columbus, he has had contact
with the Office of Ohio Latino Affairs and he intends on
meeting with Rubén Castilla Herrera, and others.
Villa’s appointment was hailed by Ohio Democratic Party Chairman
Chris Redfern who said “Camilo brings a wealth of
experience and knowledge to this position and we are proud to
have him join our team.
“Between 2004 and 2008, Latino voting grew by 30 percent
nationally, with more than two million voters added to the
U.S.-American electorate. Support of the Latino community will
be crucial in this year’s election, and through the Ohio
Democratic Party’s Latino Caucus, we will have the outreach and
resources necessary to spread our message to Latino voters
Villa said that the Latino community has been enthusiastic about
his new role. “Everyone I’ve talked to is pretty excited that
the Democratic Party has made Latino issues a priority this year
[such as immigration reform, education, and unemployed]. I’ve
had a really good response from people who perceive it as a new
“I am thrilled about this opportunity to work with the Ohio
Democratic Party and lead its outreach to Latino Ohioans around
the state. I’m very excited about what my position means both
for the Party and for Latino communities.
“Latinos are greatly affected by so many issues that Democrats
are addressing today; it is crucial that they be engaged in the
political process. Together, we can work to elect progressive
leaders that will represent Latino interests in Ohio,” added
Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Villa and his family moved to Ohio
in 1994 when he was five years old. His father is Colombian and
his mother is Canadian. He grew up in Trumbull and Ashtabula
counties and attended Lakeland Community College as a PSEO (Post
Secondary Enrollment Option) student. He graduated from
Baldwin Wallace College in Berea with a Bachelor’s degree in
Political Science and International Studies.
Politically active at an early age, Villa was an officer in the
College Democrats chapters at Lakeland and Baldwin Wallace. He
was a volunteer in the 14th Congressional District
O’Neill for Congress campaign as well as in President Barack
After graduation, Villa worked with the non-profit HOLA (Hispanas
Organizadas de Lake y Ashtabula), an immigrant and Latino
rights organization active in the nationwide Reform
Immigration for America campaign to reform U.S.-America’s
immigration system. He believes that experience has made him
well-suited for politically engaging the Latino population of
“I’ve had the opportunity to work on very different levels with
people in the community. I’ve had meetings with documented
workers, undocumented workers, representatives from
Congressional offices, the clergy, and members of Cleveland city
council. I’ve had the opportunity to interact on different
levels in meeting with Latino leaders to coordinate efforts in
this very important issue,” said Villa.
“I have a perfect skill set for my new job. I can work well with
average members of the community and interact with leaders of
the community and in government. The skills that I bring to the
table are people skills, the ability to engage many different
types of people,” he added.
“My job is to help engage Latinos on all levels including voting
and volunteering. I want to see them engaged with the Party and
the electoral process,” said Villa.
Asked how he feels he can best assist Latinos, Villa said he
believes his position can assist them in becoming engaged in the
political process. “My job is to help engage Latinos on all
levels including voting and volunteering. I want to see them
engaged with the Party and the electoral process.
“We are a community, and the more we are plugged into the
political process and engagement, the stronger voice we will
have in government and in the Party. Our voice will come out of
decisions we make. In the past, we have been much disengaged
from politics in the state, and we will have to do a lot of work
to change this.
“That is why I want to assist the Latino community to help
foster a dialogue between our new community which is growing
extremely fast with so many new citizens and new residents and
“There has been a lack of knowledge within the community about
the Party and the government. I have wanted to foster this
dialogue with the Party for a long time. This is a new community
and I want to see it become as engaged as other more established
communities,” said Villa.
“I want to help Latinos realize why their best interests are in
electing Democrats. I want to help identify the issues that
concern the community and make certain that the candidates are
aware of these concerns,” he added.
But what will Villa do if he believes the Party is not following
“The Party is not seeking my advice,” says Villa. “I will be
helping the Party understand those issues that are important to
help the Party engage members of the Latino community.
“The Democrats have already been addressing these issues. For
instance, Gov. Ted Strickland has been overhauling and
improving education, an issue which affects Latinos more than
anyone else – as you can see by the 50 percent Latino dropout
rate in Cleveland. These are urban initiatives by the government
that affect Latinos in terms of grades and graduation rates.
“In the past, there has been a lack of knowledge of the Latino
community on the part of some elements of the Party and among
political people. But now you can see a greater sensitivity to
Latino issues by the recent meetings of the governor and
Yvette McKee Brown, the candidate for Lt. Governor,
during their visits to Toledo and Cincinnati. It is important
to realize that the Party is trying to change and that it hasn’t
“I am delighted to be in a position to make sure that the Patty
continues to make Latino issues a priority,” said Villa.