Activists Working on Solidifying Latino Bloc

Hiram Soto, San Diego Union-Tribune, December 15, 2008

In the past two years, community organizations across the United States mobilized like never before to help Latinos become citizens, register to vote and go to the polls.

Now, many of these organizations plan to use that structure to advance the interests of Latinos on issues such as the economy, education and immigration.

“The work has just begun,” said David Valladolid, who headed regional efforts to establish Viva Obama clubs and form a coalition with San Diego County’s African-American population.

The National Association of Latino Elected Officials worked with Spanish-language media and community groups in a get-out-the-vote effort, and it is shifting its focus to the 2010 U.S. census and a more accurate count of the Latino population.

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“If we don’t know how many Latinos there are, then we can’t know how many resources are needed for schools, highways, health care and state and federal benefits,” Bernal said.

Valladolid said President-elect Barack Obama “needed us during his campaign, and he’s going to need us even more as the new administration begins to tackle the important issues.”

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