“I was extremely upset at the outcome of the (Toledo) mayor’s
race and losing a seat on city council—all of those things,” she
said. “I think we had a great opportunity and we fell short. I
know in my heart that we can do better than that.”
About a dozen people showed up for the initial meeting of the
caucus. A second meeting already is planned for Saturday, Feb.
22, 10 a.m. at the Believe Center.
Ms. Canales is a former elected official herself—and described
those days as “exciting times” because Latinos had
representation “on the 22nd floor, on city council,”
and elsewhere. To some degree, she wants to recapture that
political prominence for Latinos in metro Toledo.
“There were a lot of good things going on,” she said. “At this
point, there’s not a whole lot going on.”
While Anita López remains county auditor, Canales was
disappointed she was unable to get past the Sept. mayoral
primary. While Bob Vásquez serves on the Toledo Public
Schools board of education, there is no Latino representation on
Canales was elected president of the caucus, but claimed she
“has no agenda” but to raise the political profile of Latinos
within the Democratic Party. She stated the meeting provided
good candor and that “old baggage” and “hurt feelings from the
past” were brought up—but she would prefer to focus forward on
2014 races and issues.
“We’re excited to be united. We’re excited about the future,”
she said. “It was a really good start. This is a new time for
us. We all care about what’s going on and we will work
was elected and sworn in as the vice president of the Lucas
County Hispanic/ Latino Democratic Caucus, while Arturo
Quintero will serve as the group’s treasurer.
Ms. Canales credited Quintero for his leadership and keeping the
caucus quietly active for the past four years—even making sure
the caucus gave a donation from the caucus to Adam Martínez
in his failed re-election bid for Toledo City Council. The
caucus also quietly paid for Ramón Pérez’s voting sign-up
booth at the Midwest LatinoFest at Promenade Park last
The most immediate issue is the recruitment of Latino candidates
to serve on the party’s central committee and getting enough
petition signatures to get them on the May primary ballot before
the Feb. 5, 2014 deadline. Ms. Canales stated she spent “most of
the weekend” on that effort, but won’t say how many candidates
or who has agreed to go forward.
“We know we’re under the gun. We’ll see what happens,” she said.
There is a sort of political ripple effect if enough people make
the ballot. Latinos will have seats at the table when it comes
to grass-roots politics within the Lucas County Democratic
“We would like to be a bigger part of having our issues and our
candidates heard,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve done a good
job in the past of doing that. We need to raise the voice of the
Latino community, but I’m still a very proud Democrat.”