IS ROMNEY FOR SB1070?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

For Romney, ‘model’ policy on migration isn’t SB 1070

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State Rep. J. M. Lozano said Monday he will switch parties and become a Republican, making him the second South Texas lawmaker to abandon the Democratic Party in what has traditionally been a blue corner of the state.

In a phone interview, Lozano said he plans to formally announce his decision Thursday in Austin and in his home district, which includes Kingsville and stretches along the Gulf Cost to the Rio Grande Valley, near the border with Mexico.

The move further pads the GOP House supermajority, giving the Republicans 102 of 150 seats. But the Legislature is not set to meet again until next year, meaning his switch will matter only if Gov. Rick Perry calls a special session – something Perry says he has no plans to do.

Elected in 2010, Lozano filed for re-election as a Democrat on Nov. 30, just three days after the filing period opened. A second filing period has begun, however, after a legal battle over the Texas redistricting maps delayed the state’s primary until May 29.

Lozano’s district was altered significantly by maps drawn by the Republican-dominated Legislature, but those maps may change again based on the forthcoming decision of a federal court in Washington. The Texas Democratic Party says no other Democrat has filed to challenge Lozano.

Lozano said his decision had less to do with redistricting and more to do with his support of oil and natural gas exploration, his opposition to abortion and other conservative convictions popular with his constituents.

“My job now is to let the Hispanic community know that our values are welcome in the Republican Party,” he said.

Lozano becomes the third Democratic state representative to change parties in less than 18 months. In December 2010, Rep. Allan Ritter of Nederland, east of Houston, became a Republican, as did Rep. Aaron Pena, who represents the Rio Grande Valley community of Edinburg.

Pena has since announced he’s not planning to seek re-election this year, however, after he said the redrawn voting maps made it impossible for a Republican to win in his district.

South Texas has traditionally been a Democratic stronghold, but Lozano said the state party leadership ignored the issues most important to him. The owner of a trio of chicken wing franchises, Lozano was born in Mexico and became a U.S. citizen at 6.

He said he was persuaded to change parities after a conversation this week with George P. Bush, the founder of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas political action committee. He is also the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and nephew of former President George W. Bush.

“We talked about everything, our lives and how there’s this misconception out there that the Republican Party is not welcome to Hispanics,” Lozano said.

The Texas Democratic Party called Lozano’s decision “unprincipled and cowardly.”

“Just 15 months ago, Lozano was elected to office as a Democrat. The instant things got tough, Lozano jumped ship and joined a party that has betrayed his constituents,” Chairman Boyd Richie said in a statement. “He’s proven he has no core and stands for nothing but his quest to grab and hold power.”

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WHO ARE “THE LITTLE BROWN ONES” IN UNISON WITH THE GOP?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

"More than five years later, Bush, who along with two siblings was dubbed one of “the little brown ones” by his grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush, is in Austin discussing how the 18-month-old Hispanic Republicans of Texas Political Action Committee, which he co-founded, moves ahead after redistricting."

 photo by: Bob Daemmrich George P. Bush, founding board member of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas, pauses at the Austin Club on March 1st, 2012

The seeds of political ascension for a member of the Bush family may have been planted in an Austin eatery whose name conjures up images of Janis Joplin jam sessions.

After Election Day in 2006, George P. Bush — the son of former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and the nephew of former President George W. Bush — met with a friend at Threadgill’s to discuss how to propel more Hispanics within the ranks of the Republican Party.

More than five years later, Bush, who along with two siblings was dubbed one of “the little brown ones” by his grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush, is in Austin discussing how the 18-month-old Hispanic Republicans of Texas Political Action Committeewhich he co-founded, moves ahead after redistricting.

“There really wasn’t an entity that was focused on the campaign finance element of Hispanic outreach, nor was there really an entity that was doing the blocking and tackling and mechanics of educating Latinos to actually run for office,” Bush, a 35-year-old lawyer, said of the PAC’s genesis.

Its board includes lawyers, former aides to government officials, advertising executives and a professor, who are working to reach a traditionally blue-collar demographic. Bush said that is part of the message.

“They represent the American dream and are less than a generation from very humble origins,” Bush said of the board members, who have endorsed candidates from myriad backgrounds.

“This organization is also meant to be aspirational, and I think the Hispanic community is aspirational,” said Bush, whose mother is from Mexico.

Democrats say the PAC faces an uphill battle.

“They are delusional if they think they’re making any inroads with Latinos,” said Rebecca Acuña, a Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman. “In Texas, there are 668 Democratic Hispanic elected officials to the 60 in the Republican Party.”

Though Bush is careful when speaking about his own goals, he says he is inextricably linked to politics. For now, however, he is content with his role with the PAC.

His future political success could hinge on how Republicans move forward on specific issues. He supports portions of the DREAM Act, and said he thinks most Republicans would also favor at least certain aspects of it, including a pathway toward legalization for illegal immigrants if they serve in the military.

He also calls himself a “George W. Bush” Republican on other aspects of immigration reform.

“That is essentially securing the border, placing an importance on that,” he said. “In terms of folks already here? Figure out a way where they can be taken out of the shadows and contribute to society and provide an opportunity to contribute and pay their fair share.”

Like his uncle, he also supports the U.S. government’s efforts to aid Mexico in that country’s battles against organized crime.

“My opinion is that we both have a vested national security interest and increasingly [the cartel wars] are infringing upon our national security,” he said. “Therefore, collaboration at the highest level is called for and that means continued collaboration on intelligence and information-sharing.”

It was under President George W. Bush that the U.S. and Mexico signed the Mérida Initiative, an aid package of about $1.5 billion that provides equipment, technology and training to Mexico.

George P. Bush said he wishes he spoke more Spanish, his first language, but it has faded from his life due to a lack of practice. He advocates that Hispanics in America should learn English.

“Whether we like it or not, it is the language of commerce in our country,” he said. “That is not meant to be in a dispirited tone.”

Bush knows speculation about his future will persist. In some circles he has already been dubbed “47.” The talk is flattering, he said.

“I’d love to keep the door open. Politics is in my blood,” he said.

Read More: http://www.texastribune.org/texas-politics/2012-elections/george-p-aims-take-hispanics-higher-gop/

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