+ ++ Arizona's Latino Caucus goals include education, economy, reforming CPS | Latina Lista
Local Stories

Arizona’s Latino Caucus goals include education, economy, reforming CPS

Arizona’s Latino Caucus goals include education, economy, reforming CPS

By Diangelea Millar
Cronkite News Service

masthead

PHOENIX – While addressing issues such as education, the economy and reforming Child Protective Services, lawmakers need to focus more on Arizona’s growing Hispanic population, the head of the Arizona Legislative Latino Caucus says.

“The voters in our communities deserve better,” said Sen. Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson, the Senate Democratic leader. “We are interested in the details. Our priority is Arizona.”

Members of the caucus and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce outlined their legislative agenda at a news conference Tuesday. At the top of Tovar’s list: CPS, which failed to investigate 6,000 child abuse reports between 2009 and 2013.

“We failed miserably,” Tovar said. “We will work hand in hand with the governor to make sure this never happens to another child again.”

Gov. Jan Brewer signed an executive order Monday abolishing CPS, saying she wants to remove it from the Department of Economic Security and create an independent agency reporting directly to her.

Tovar agreed that CPS needed work and said that funding will likely be the main issue with overhauling it.

Caucus leaders also highlighted providing more funding to schools, improving roads and supporting Hispanic businesses and entrepreneurs.

Gonzalo de la Melina Jr., president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said the Latino community is a major contributor to Arizona’s economy.

“Look, if Arizona is going to maximize its competitiveness in the global economy, then we must unlock the potential of all of our residents, including the large and fastest-growing segment, the Hispanic community,” he said.

Latinos represent 18 percent of the total annual consumer spending in the state, a figure expected to rise by 25 percent over the next three years as the population grows, according to a report from the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Rep. Martin J. Quezada, D-Phoenix, said that the Latino population is the future of Arizona. However, he said, Brewer’s speech was unresponsive to the unique needs of the Hispanic community.

“We need the governor to be ready and willing to address these issues,” he said.

Rep. T.J Shope, R-Coolidge, who called himself the only Republican in the caucus, said in a phone interview that he agrees that the Latino community is a growing presence that Arizona lawmakers must focus on.

He said that Hispanic students need access to better education, including more STEM options, and to higher education.

“We want to make sure community college options and universities are more affordable,” he said.

Tovar said the caucus will focus on bipartisan efforts, using last year’s vote to expand Medicaid coverage, made possible by a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans, as an example.

“You will see more bipartisanship because Arizonans want that,” she said.

Click to add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Local Stories

More in Local Stories

2_460_34a4a53b-561f-4b6a-a956-8ae7fda84a4b

SF Mission Organizers Debut Film on Alex Nieto Case

Latina ListaJanuary 5, 2016
2_453_832f7f3a-cc83-4873-abba-2825da162c90

In one West Valley community, ever-shifting demographics are changing the face of Phoenix

Latina ListaDecember 21, 2015
2_447_a4c84946-4d35-45e6-970f-2d6efb869afe

Rio Grande Valley teachers urged not to turn away students who want to join robotics teams

Latina ListaDecember 17, 2015
2_443_7727a68e-6830-450b-a2a5-0ba1ade69039

U.S. speech and debate teams dig deep for material to overcome literary void of Latino voices

Latina ListaDecember 16, 2015
2_438_1ddd421b-615c-497f-88c6-d9dd33a6cfa5

In All Cases, Oklahoma Police Find No Proof of Racial Profiling

Latina ListaDecember 15, 2015
2_433_d2b59a30-e7e7-49b8-86bc-416abab83622

Bridging a border to unite my transnational family

Latina ListaDecember 10, 2015
2_428_be76ed14-acf4-46ac-9ba8-60de992edd5c

San Diego’s Balboa Park Hosts 32 International Cottages, but Mexico is not one of them

Latina ListaDecember 9, 2015
2_424_933816bc-0b44-4f62-8503-74fc00592dca

One of Chicago’s most prolific artists, Marcos Raya, highlighted at city museum

Latina ListaDecember 8, 2015
2_418_d6650135-5378-41d7-bbc4-f01770b591a2

Young refugees who arrive at the border alone struggle in U.S.

Latina ListaDecember 7, 2015