Expanding The Power of U.S. Latinos

2017 News & Articles

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  • 05/01/2017 3:18 PM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    May 1, 2017

    By: Hector Barreto

    In order to make the most of his next 100 days in office, President Donald Trump must find more common ground within the Republican Party and find ways to appeal to a broader segment of voters, beyond his base.

    I suggest a simple, unifying goal: Make small business great again. Putting the interests of small business first will be a political winner across voting segments (small business is a popular institution, outranking most groups in opinion polls Opens a New Window.) that is consistent with both the president’s populism and economic goals. It also fits perfectly with Republicans’ interest in the free-market principles of limited government. Plus, if America’s leaders do the right thing for small business on pending issues like health care and tax reform, they will unleash the sector’s unique powers of job creation – the holy grail of political success.

    A small-business message will also resonate with the aspirational nature of many minority groups, especially the Hispanic community, which has a strong entrepreneurial streak – Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely than the general population to become entrepreneurs and Hispanic-owned businesses are growing at 15 times the national growth rate. The Latino community’s support of pro-small-business policy initiatives would be a grassroots boon and may even help earn the votes of Congressional Democrats – a stated goal of the White House. A nod to the Hispanic community now could even pay some immigration-reform dividends later.

    It is easy to picture Trump rallies – an important grassroots tool the president should employ more often – structured around a theme of small business and entrepreneurship. As a business owner himself, the president has tremendous credibility with the small-business community – meaning that a group of people who rarely take a vacation, or even a day off, might just close shop early to hear their president talk about tax reform or health care. Coverage of these events would make very good television.

    On taxes, small-business owners will want to hear the president talk about individual rates because they don’t pay corporate taxes, they pay individual taxes, and they pay them at often-astronomically high rates (they aren’t “the rich,” but their rates can approach 40 percent for federal taxes alone). They also hate the death tax – because even if its threshold is high enough to never impact them, the concept of double taxation, and the taxation of success and inheritance, are anathema to what they do and who they are.

    On health care, small-business owners are almost a one-note tune: cost, cost, cost. It’s a song they’ve been singing for thirty years, and Washington hasn’t listened. Instead, Obamcare delivered premium and deductible increases that have added insult to injury. To be politically successful, Obamacare repeal and replace must be about cost; the president should make this the chorus of his next push for reform.

    The Trump Administration’s promise to small business is already on the table. At a recent meeting of The Latino Coalition, Vice President Mike Pence told the group of independent business owners: “The Trump Administration will be the best friend American small businesses will ever have, because when small business is strong, the American economy is strong.”

    For economic reasons, the president must make this statement come true. A concerted effort on behalf of small business will encourage and inspire new business formations, which is essential for new jobs in the short term and a more resilient economy over the long term.

    For political reasons, making small business a big priority in his second 100 days could help the president lead his party by giving the GOP the common ground

    they desperately need to govern.

  • 04/30/2017 11:52 PM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    By: Patricia Guadalupe

    Vice President Mike Pence had a clear message for Latinos, that the Trump Administration would keep its campaign promises. “And we’re just getting started,” he concluded.

    Pence spoke at an event sponsored by the Latino Coalition called the “Make Small Business Great Again Policy Summit” which also included SBA Administrator and wrestling entrepreneur Linda McMahon as a keynote speaker. The Latino Coalition is a California-based organization which advocates for Latino entrepreneurs. Its chairman is Hector Barreto, who was appointed to lead the SBA by President George W. Bush in 2001.

    In Washington, DC, access is power, and in attendance were many of the Latinos who have ties to the new jefe, President Donald J. Trump. Among them was Latino Coalition board member Manny Rosales.

    “You have high-ranking officials coming to talk with us and paying attention to us immediately,” he said. “If we didn’t matter they wouldn’t be talking with us. They are interested in the community and what we have to say. Even though it is still early, I am very optimistic about what the president will do for our community.”

    Republican media strategist and business owner Danny Vargas agrees:

    “I think it was incredibly encouraging to see the Vice President go to the Latino Coalition event and the President sit down with Hispanic business leaders in the White House, particularly so early in this administration. With everything else that is going on, to provide that level of attention, time, and interest was very encouraging.”

    To many Latinos, Trump’s promises include mass deportations and building a wall along the border with Mexico, so the Vice President’s assurances had an ominous tone. “This administration has virtually no contact with the Latino community,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in an interview with Latino USA.“We have reached out to them since day one and have invited the President and the Vice President to our events, but they’ve declined.”

    But at the Summit, the mood was upbeat, and along with Pence were some of the Latinos now in the White House. Among the first to be appointed was Helen Aguirre Ferré, the Director of Media Affairs. A Jeb Bush supporter and former TV host in Miami, Aguirre Ferré says she has a new way of working with the media. Previously, the White House maintained an Office of Specialty Media focused on Latinos and other ethnic press, but that has been scrapped by the Trump administration. “I’ve taken a very different approach on this,” she says. “I didn’t like the specialty media category. Specialty media is always pushed back, pushed to the side. It’s all media, whether you deliver your information in English or Spanish. I believe we all belong at the same table. We’re trying to bring everyone together.”

    Aguirre Ferré’s goal is to ensure greater access overall, as there is no one particular issue affecting just one community. “There are some issues that some communities may hold near and dear to their heart but fundamentally we all want the same things – good schools, quality healthcare, the opportunity to live in peace and freedom, and I think whether you say it in English or Spanish, whether you’re black, white, Asian, we all feel the same and our policies should reflect that reality of working together. What’s good for the Latino community is good for the African American community and other communities,” she says.

    When Trump took over, the White House web pages in Spanish were scrubbed, prompting criticism that the new administration was not bring back Spanish-language pages, but Aguirre Ferré says they are currently working on a Spanish-language website, although no date has been given as to when it’ll be launched.

    She works closely with Sofia Boza, the White House’s Director of Regional Media, who is also bilingual. At a recent meeting with several members of the executive board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Aguirre Ferré said the White House is interested in increased access and a close relationship with members of the press: “We’re here as public servants and we are here to help, and to make sure that the message gets out of what we’re doing. We are growing the office and still staffing up and bringing in new people.”

    Aguirre Ferré, who is the daughter-in-law of former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferré, says this is a unique opportunity like none other she has ever had. “I’m in awe of the opportunity. I think of my parents every single day, of the sacrifices they made, and how lucky we were to share in the American experience but also not forget our family and our roots. Sometimes I want to pinch myself that I am living this dream. I feel crazy blessed.”

    She adds that the White House still keeps in close contact with many of the Trump supporters and those who served as surrogates during the campaign, including members of the Trump campaign’s ad hoc Hispanic Advisory Council. Steve Cortés, for instance, continues as a Fox Business News contributor, Sergio de la Peña is at the Defense Department, and Joseph Guzmán, a campaign advisor and co-chair of the campaign in Michigan, continues to teach at Michigan State University. “We stay in touch with Trump surrogates. Their work and support in the community continues to be significant, and there are many who continue to be a part of the conversation in providing opinion and guidance,” said Aguirre Ferré. “There are calls we do on a daily basis, and email blasts. We consider their work absolutely critical and our eyes and ears as to what is going on around the country. We truly value their participation; they enrich our experience and make it easier for us.”

    Jovita Carranza, a former Deputy Director of the Small Business Administration in the George W. Bush administration and a member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council, is rumored to be under consideration for a position. While Carranza did not want to comment specifically on that, she says that many have underestimated President Trump:“He truly does care about the Latino community. Media reports about him don’t reflect how he really is. It’s still very early. We need to give him a chance to work for all of us and succeed.”

    That’s a sentiment that is echoed by GOP strategist Adolfo Franco, who says that now that Trump is president, it is time to work together. “I think he will be good for the Latino community. I haven’t been asked to join the Trump administration, but I would certainly consider it,” says Franco, the COO of the Direct Selling Association.

    But one of the most visible surrogates, Latinos for Trump founder Marco Gutiérrez, seems to have dropped out of the spotlight. Infamous for his warning of a “taco truck on every corner,” he does not appear to be affiliated with the Trump administration.

    In addtion to Aguirré Ferré and Boza, another Latina serving in the White House is Jennifer Sevilla Korn, born and raised in East Los Angeles, the daughter of a Mexican immigrant. Korn is the Deputy Director of the Office of Public Liaison, the main communication line between the White House and the public. “We engage with all communities across the country, building coalitions, engaging with organizations and constituents. It’s very exciting. It’s long hours but I have a smile on my face every day at the end of the day. It gives me great joy to be able to bring people to be able to talk about the issues tha are so important to them,” she says. “My role is to welcome communities from across the country to come into the White House and have a voice, and build coalitions around issues that are important to help this country go in the right direction. I look forward to bringing in people to really have their voice heard in changing our country for the better.”

    Korn, who used to work at the Republican National Committee and with the George W. Bush re-election campaign, appears to be the highest-ranking Latino in the White House and says that the hardest part of her job is not having enough time. “There are so many things to do and so many groups that we want to bring in, but we have the time factor.

    Former Harvard government professor Carlos Díaz-Rosillo is in the newly created position of Director of Policy and Interagency Coordination. Díaz-Rosillo, born in Venezuela to Cuban parents and raised in Miami, was never involved in any political campaign until he reached out to the Trump campaign early last year and later joined the transition team after the election. “I never really wanted to be involved in a campaign because I wanted to be ojective, but I felt that his election was far to important not to get involved. This is the first time I’ve ever been involved in any political endeavor but I felt that Donald Trump was the guy to lead the country,” he said.

    Díaz-Rosillo’s role in the White House is to coordinate and work with different departments on implementing policy, and he feels that coming not from the political or campaign world but rather the academic world is an advantage for him: “People who know me know that I don’t have a political agenda. My agenda is to serve the president and serve the country and do what helps him advance his agenda, so not having been a member of any staff on the Hill or any think thank or any previous campaign, gives me objectivity. The president has been very clear that he wants outsiders, people who think outside the box who bring fresh and new ideas, and I think I can help with that because I’ve never been involved in government.”

    Like other Hispanics who work in the Trump White House, Díaz-Rosillo believes the stories excoriating the president are off-base: “He’s gotten a bad rap in the Latino community. The media has been masterful at portraying him in a negative light. He is a warm and talented guy who really wants to do what’s best for the country, and that’s not what you read or hear when you turn on the television.”

    But political strategist Luis Alvarado is taking a different approach. Even though he is a Republican, Alvarado says he’s not convinced that the Trump White House is serious about engaging with the Latino community and is unconvinced that the Latinos in the White House to date have any real power or influence.

    “Yes, we have Latinos in the White House, but if we have 100 Latinos in the White House and they are prevented from having any voice or influence they would be nothing be a spectacle,” he says. “In general we don’t see any structured outreach programs from the White House to the Latino community. We know and see how the policies that are being enacted are detrimental to the community. By not engaging on any topic, all you see is negative messages toward the Latino community from the White House which continues to fuel the bitterness toward Donald Trump.”

    Alvarado adds that saying it’s too early to judge is just an excuse.“When you hear it’s too early and we’re not prepared, that goes contrary to anything that we heard during the campaign, that they were going to be reaching out. It gives us pause to believe that there is any serious engagement plan to actually unify the nation. I would like to see a sincere engagement with leaders who are respected in the Latino community.”

    If confirmed, the only Latino in Trump’s Cabinet will be Alex Acosta, nominated for Secretary of Labor after Andrew Puzder withdrew. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Acosta currently serves as dean of FIU College of Law, a post he has held since 2009. Prior to that, he served at the Department of Justice and the National Labor Relations Board. “Alex is going to be a key part of achieving our goal of revitalizing the American economy, manufacturing and labor force,” said Trump.

    But nonetheless, Alvarado says the dearth of Latinos in high-ranking positions in the Trump administration is telling. “When it comes to other positions, we haven’t seen any other Latinos being seriously considered for any high-ranking position. It’s not the fact that [the Latinos in the White House] are in largely deputy positions because those historically have had some level of engagement, it’s that we don’t see any type of direction that makes me believe there’s going to be a bridge between the Latino community and the White House.”

  • 04/28/2017 12:00 AM | TLC Team (Administrator)


    The Latino Coalition (TLC), the leading national non-partisan advocacy organization representing Hispanic businesses and consumers, issued the following statement regarding the confirmation of Alexander Acosta as U.S. Department of Labor Secretary:

    “We are very proud of Alexander Acosta’s confirmation as U.S. Labor Secretary,”

    said Hector Barreto, The Latino Coalition Chairman and former U.S. Small Business Administrator.

    “Acosta is an excellent choice for this crucial Cabinet position and his outstanding record of achievement reaffirms that he will fight for the American worker. As the first confirmed Hispanic member of Trump’s Cabinet, we applaud and look forward to working with Acosta in his new role, and we have no doubt his extensive experience will help lead America’s labor force to economic growth and prosperity.”

  • 02/15/2017 1:55 PM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    Hispanic entrepreneurs are a powerful engine of growth in the American economy. Their continued success is important not only to the vibrant, growing Hispanic American community, but to the prosperity of the entire nation.

    Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. There are 57 million Hispanic Americans today, the largest minority group in the country. They will number over 100 million by 2050. They’re the youngest ethnic group in the country, too. The median age of Hispanic Americans is 27.

    More Hispanics are buying homes, going to college, and making over $50,000 a year than ever before. Their purchasing power has increased by 167 percent since the start of the century, and it is expected to reach $1.7 trillion this year.

    Little wonder that this dynamic population is producing a rapidly increasing share of small businesses. Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. are opening at a rate 15 times faster than the national average. Hispanics make up about a quarter of all new entrepreneurs, and their annual revenues exceed $660 billion.

    Many Hispanic entrepreneurs, like generations of entrepreneurs before them, sell goods and services of every type and quantity face-to-face, neighbor-to-neighbor in their communities. They work as independent contractors in the direct sales retail channel, attracted to an opportunity with low start-up costs and comparatively low overhead and risk. Hispanics comprise a fifth of all direct sellers in the U.S.

    Twenty million Americans run legitimate direct-selling businesses in association with, but independent of, the companies whose goods and services they sell. Direct sellers set their own schedule and manage their own business plan according to their own needs.

    They might be young adults just getting started, stay-at-home moms earning a little extra money to boost the family income, or an early retiree keeping active and supplementing a pension.

    They might be full-time entrepreneurs building large businesses, recruiting a salesforce of independent sellers with plans to earn more substantial income from the sales to a growing market of customers. However, they are all threatened reputationally and financially by fraudulent pyramid schemes masquerading as direct sellers.

    The principal difference distinguishing a legitimate direct seller from a pyramid scheme is how they compensate their sales force. Pyramid schemes compensate the act of recruiting others into the scheme. Sales are incidental to the compensation. Direct selling compensates their distributors primarily on the sale and use of their products by end users.

    Pyramid schemes typically impose high costs on their victims and offer scant opportunities to return unused inventory. They harm the ability of legitimate direct sellers to build their sales forces and earn the confidence of their customers. They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    Forty-nine states have anti-pyramid scheme laws on the books, and 18 states enacted laws modeled on recommendations by the Council of State Governments. Extensive case law in state and federal courts has further clarified what does and does not constitute a pyramid scheme. As yet, there is no federal law defining and punishing pyramid schemes. That needs to be corrected.

    In the last Congress, Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Marc Veasey (D-Texas) introduced the Anti-Pyramid Promotional Scheme Act, which provided a sanctioned definition of pyramid schemes based on existing case law and the model legislation enacted in 18 states.

    The bill gave guidance to legitimate direct sellers on the best ethical practices to follow and clarified that personal consumption of their products by direct sellers is a legitimate activity and constitutes a real sale.

    Many direct sellers, like sales clerks in retail stores, choose to consume their products. For some, the primary reason they became involved in direct selling is to buy products they enjoy at a discount and perhaps sell modest amounts to family and friends. Their integrity and the integrity of the companies who sell to them should not be called into question by falsely associating them with pyramid schemes.

    Efforts are underway to reintroduce legislation in the new Congress, and Hispanic leaders in both parties should support it. It will offer much needed support to the growing ranks of Hispanics involved in direct selling — honest entrepreneurs and their customers — and protect them from bad actors in the marketplace.

    Business ownership is the dream of millions of Americans, and no less so in the proud, aspiring, hardworking Hispanic community. Hispanic entrepreneurs are an asset to the country, and our nation’s political leaders should defend their aspirations.

    Hector Barreto is the chairman of The Latino Coalition and was administrator of the Small Business Administration from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush.

    Cited: The Hill

  • 01/12/2017 1:35 PM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    January 12, 2017 — New York — A prominent group of national U.S. Jews and Latinos has established the Latino Jewish Leadership Council (LJLC). Convened by AJC, the new national Council will work to further strengthen Latino-Jewish cooperation in advocating for issues of shared concern and values cherished by both communities.

    “The future of this country is based, as it has always been, on communities coming together with a vision for a better future and, through hard work and perseverance, making that vision our shared reality,” said Luis Ubiñas, President of the Ford Foundation (2008 to 2013), current President of the Board of Directors of the Pan American Development Foundation, and a founding member of the LJLC. “In this coming generation, the Latino and Jewish communities working together can achieve any aspiration.”

    AJC has long been committed to deepening Latino-Jewish understanding and cooperation. The LJLC expands upon groundbreaking initiatives that have included helping launch the bipartisan Latino-Jewish Congressional Caucus in 2011, and hosting in 2013 a National Conversation on the State of Latino-Jewish Relations in Washington, D.C., attended by 100 high-level leaders from both communities. Many LJLC members have participated in these and other initiatives of AJC’s Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA).

    “When the very ethos of American pluralism has been challenged by some, when hate crimes have increased, and when entire communities have been stigmatized, creation of this Council reinforces the importance of our shared destiny, and the strength and resilience our nation derives from its diversity,” said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC BILLA, who is staffing the LJLC.

    The Council’s first meeting will take place in Washington on March 1. Visit ajc.org to receive more information and LJLC updates.

    The full list of the initial LJLC members is below:

    Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr.
    President, U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute

    Pilar Avila
    Board Member, New America Alliance
    Los Angeles

    Hector V. Barreto
    Chairman, The Latino Coalition
    Los Angeles

    Howard Berman
    Former U.S. Representative
    Los Angeles

    Al Cárdenas
    Senior Partner, Squire Patton Boggs
    Miami / Washington, D.C.

    Alberto P. Cárdenas, Jr.
    Counsel, Vinson & Elkins, LLP

    Maria T. Cardona
    Principal, The Dewey Square Group
    Washington, DC

    Alejandra Castillo
    Washington, DC

    Marty Castro
    President and CEO, Castro Synergies, LLC;
    Former Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

    Henry Cisneros
    Founder and Chairman, Citiview; Former Secretary
    of Housing and Urban Development
    San Antonio

    Claudio Grossman
    President, Inter-American Institute of Human Rights; Dean Emeritus, American University Washington College of Law
    Washington, DC

    Giselle Fernandez
    President, Fernandez Consulting
    Los Angeles

    David Harris
    New York

    Thomas Kahn
    Honorary Chair, AJC Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs
    Washington, DC

    Shrub Kempner
    Board of Governors, AJC

    Abelardo Lechter
    Chairman, Pan American Association of Philadelphia; Board Member, Congreso de Latinos Unidos

    David Leopold
    Board Member, AJC Cleveland; Former President, American Immigration Lawyers Association

    Javier Palomarez
    President and CEO, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
    Washington, DC

    Robert Raben
    Founder and President, The Raben Group
    Washington, DC

    Allan Reich
    Chairman, AJC National Policy Commission

    Raul B. RodriguezChairman,
    U.S. Mexico Foundation
    San Antonio

    Felix Sanchez
    Chairman and Co-Founder, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts
    Washington, DC

    Dina Siegel Vann
    Director, AJC Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs
    Washington, DC

    José Antonio Tijerino
    President and CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation
    Washington, DC

    Luis Ubiñas
    Former President, Ford Foundation; President of the Board of Directors, Pan American Development Foundation
    New York

    Cid Wilson
    President and CEO, Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility
    Washington, DC

    Peter Villegas
    Board Member, NALEO; ‎Vice President of Latin Affairs, The Coca-Cola Company
    Los Angeles

    Cited: AJC Global Jewish Advocacy

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