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Romanoff and Coffman: facing the Latino challenge

By David Conde

I have a friend that had a subordinate badmouth him in such a hurtful way that he lost all trust in the person. The sentence he imposed on this individual amounted to actions that would help reestablish that trust.

The subordinate is very skilled and a great asset to the organization but is not indispensable. The personís future is up in the air and uncertain as the words that put their relationship where it is.

This is the position the Democrat Andrew Romanoff and the Republican Mike Coffman with respect to Immigration Reform. Each in his own way has trespassed on the issues affecting the Latino immigrant community and must explain their future plans in this regard if they want to get elected.

In 2006 Romanoff led a Colorado legislative session that passed anti-immigrant laws that were among the strongest in the country at the time. Coffman is known as hardliner against Immigration Reform and has recognized Tom Tancredo as his hero.

These two candidates for the 6th Congressional District are entering a new political reality as a result of the 2010 census and the Congressional redistricting that has changed the rules of the game. As a result, the district that stretches from parts of Adams, through Arapahoe and Douglas counties has become 20 percent Latino guaranteeing that this community will be the deciding factor in who gets to go to Washington.

Andrew Romanoff appears to currently have the edge because he is saying the right things about Immigration Reform and Coffman is still vague about his stand on the issue. However, we have a long way to go and the opportunity to gain the favor of the Latino community is still open and available.

Both candidates are skilled politicians and know that the goal of running for office is to win the election. That fact is that these guys may very well change their stand overnight if that gets them to the winnerís circle.

The rule for the 6th Congressional District as for the rest of the country is that we first talk about Immigration Reform before we listen to the stump speeches about energy, the economy, jobs and national defense. Latinos have the same needs and concerns as other people; but the political starting point is Immigration Reform as the priority of all priorities because the lives of 11 million people hang in the balance.

Both Andrew Romanoff and Mike Coffman owe the community a thorough hearing and discussion about their intent in the future with regards to the things that Latinos most care about. It can be no other way because the power of a political group stands on conviction.

The divisions that characterize American political life today very much reflect a country in transition that is grudgingly making room for a community surging into the power structure. There is no turning back on the process that is changing the changing of the guard.

The 11 million undocumented immigrants have millions of American children that are making their presence felt when called. There are already almost a million young Latinos reaching voting age each year and are going to the polls in increasing numbers as issues demand their participation.

So our immigrants are not alone and Romanoff and Coffman sense the implications and hopefully will make a special effort to respond to the priorities of a Latino community that is looking to change the future. The one that does it better will be the winner in November.





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