Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

20 November 2007

The candidates on Latin@ Issues

Marisa Trevino at Latina Lista has invited the Presidential candidates to post to her blog on how they will deal with Latin@ issues. So far Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, and Chris Dodd have taken advantage of this opportunity. Here's a bit of what they said, but I urge you to head over to Latina Lista to read their whole statement:

HRC:

Unfortunately, our government’s policies have not caught up with the new realities of American life. The traditional family – with one breadwinner and one homemaker – is now the exception rather than the rule.

As a result, two-thirds of all of working parents say they do not have enough time with their children.

This is a critical national priority, because we all have a stake in the next generation. And it is a particularly pressing issue for the Latino community, 34 percent of which is under age 18, compared to 25 percent for the overall population.

That’s why last week I announced an agenda to help parents balance work and family and ensure that Americans aren’t faced with a choice between keeping their job and caring for a newborn baby.

I believe we should set a goal of every family in America being able to take time off when their children are born or adopted, and at least some of that time should be paid leave for those who need it. My plan would set an ambitious goal for all states to implement a paid family leave program by the year 2016, and offer $1 billion per year in grants to encourage innovative paid family leave programs at the state level. Promoting paid family leave is critical for giving new parents the opportunity to bond with their children at the most important time in their development.

HRC has a chance to speak to mostly Latina voters and she wraps Latinas up in one of her core campaign stances - paid family leave. While I am a huge advocate for this, especially for low-income workers where Latinas are found, I can't help but feel she whiffed on this. She could have discussed immigration or the crisis of Latinas getting pregnant and dropping out of high school. On the other hand, treating Latinas as just another segment of the women's vote seems like a positive move. We do have more issues than just immigration. But it still is an issue at the top of my list.

MG:

Our schools are failing, we are in a disastrous war in Iraq, we have 2 million people in prison, our healthcare system is spinning out of control, and our economy is on the verge of collapse.

But our so-called leaders can’t stop talking about “border security?”

It’s time to get real.

Like all immigrants, Latinos have made our country stronger. And we need to bring them into the system — not throw them out and bar the door.

We need an amnesty program so that all undocumented workers can be registered and protected.

We should no longer tolerate the underground economy that allows employers to avoid social security taxes and abuse their workers.

We need to get real about the “war on drugs,” which is really a war on Latinos.

Gravel takes the "I love immigrants" approach. Yes, I do think he's a little wacky, but I think that comes with telling the truth. The truth is so wacky that we want to dismiss it. I do agree that most of the issue with immigration is our economy's addiction to cheap labor. I think Gravel's statement is a tad too short, but it addresses what I think it should.

CD:

When I was a young man, I heard President Kennedy’s call to be a part of something greater than ourselves. I heard that call and took it to the rural hills of the Dominican Republic, where for the next two years of my life, I served as a member of the Peace Corps. At the time, I barely spoke a word of Spanish.

But I was also full of optimism and a sense of what was possible. And with that energy and determination, we built a maternity hospital, schools, a youth club and a library — los corazones de nuestras comunidades.

And it was in the Dominican Republic that I saw such a vibrant sense of community — a community where people looked out for one another and lifted each other up.

These are values I know the readers of Latina Lista nurture every day.

And so, in many ways, it was in the mountains of the Dominican Republic that I saw just how important America’s example was, what America meant to the rest of the world — the hope we could inspire, and most importantly, the things we could accomplish for our families and yours.

It's that example that I've tried to carry on as a United States Senator and will in the White House.

He gets points for quoting Chavez, but loses them for announcing his candidacy on Imus. Dude! If you're going to package yourself as the champion of the people, don't go on a racist's show. Yes, it was before Imus' sexist & racist remarks about Rutgers, but it wasn't the first time his mouth spewed like that. But he makes some good points about what he HAS done while in the Senate. Some may think that a record makes a candidate weaker, but I find Dodd's record a strength. That said, I haven't done a lot of research on him at this point either.

Out of the three candidates, I'd rank them Dodd, Gravel, Clinton. I'm looking forward to seeing who else posts on Latina Lista.

Technorati tags: Latina Lista, latina, politics, campaign 2008, Clinton, Dodd, Gravel

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