Kaptur, Sánchez greet Lorain Latinos before primary March 6
Congressmen Kucinich, Gutiérrez visit March 1
By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa
Lorain: With primary
elections just around the political corner, candidates are out
canvassing neighborhoods to make one last pitch for votes.
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur
(D-Toledo) took the opportunity to meet with Latinos in the City
of Lorain on Monday, February 27, 2012, accompanied by
Congresswoman Loretta Sánchez (D-CA).
As a result of
redistricting, the City of Lorain is now included in the 9th
District. She and fellow democrat U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich
(D-Cleveland) will face off March 6th, vying for the
same votes. With a 25 percent Latino population in Lorain, the
community plays a critical role in shaping its future and
Kaptur met with students
and administrators of Frank Jacinto Elementary School,
Lorain Veteran’s Administration Outpatient Clinic and Valor
House, lunched at El Arriero Mexican Restaurant, and toured
El Centro de Servicios Sociales, Inc.
Kaptur said she works with
the community and its leaders for the best possible solutions
and what sets her apart from Kucinich is: “Real results.”
said their voting records mirror each other; she praised
Kaptur’s work ethics and said she cares about the communities
she serves and brings forth practical solutions and ideas.
Sánchez advises Kaptur to listen closely to the concerns of the
Latino communities—“We don’t ask for much but when we do it is
of real importance,” Sánchez said.
But Congresswoman Kaptur’s voting record diverges from Sánchez’s
[and Kucinich’s] in one important aspect— on the Development,
Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (the DREAM Act,
updated HR 5281), wherein Sánchez voted for and
Kaptur voted against. Kaptur explained the legislation’s
focus was too narrow and did not address the greater problem, “I
believe in comprehensive immigration reform.” She said
immigration affects all ethnicities and the solution should
encompass all those impacted.
Yet, a review of the bill that passed the House on December 8,
2010 reveals that all immigrants/aliens—who met strict
requirements—were included, not just Latinos.
Sánchez said the lack of the ultimate Senatorial support in
December of 2010 renders the DREAM Act moot, and is used as a
smoke screen to divert attention from comprehensive immigration
reform. She said the anger is frustrating; “I explain to
students they are being used.”
Another one of her colleagues—Congressman Luis Gutiérrez
of Illinois—disagrees. Gutiérrez will visit both Lorain and
Toledo this week to explain why the DREAM Act should have become
law and how the vast majority of Latinos support the DREAM Act.
Executive Director of El Centro, said the issue of DREAM Act is
unlikely to sway voters’ opinion in the city. He said while
voter registration and participation has increased over the
years it remains below its potential and voters are likely to
cast in favor of the candidate they relate to more at a personal
level. He said voter advocacy and education needs to be
strengthened so they begin to ask questions and hold elected
officials accountable for their campaign promises. “Voters are
not ready to follow issues and ask candidates why they are
taking the positions they are,” he said.
Leandry said the population has previously been neglected but is
beginning to wake up and take a more active role in civic
engagement with the commitment of several organizations and
agencies like the Coalition for Hispanic/Latino Issues and
Progress (CHIP). “People are beginning to understand voting
is not just a right but a responsibility,” he said.