The Only Latino Presidential Candidate Makes Q-C Visit


ricardsonBill Richardson is seeking the Democratic nomination for president and he made a visit to the Quad Cities on Tuesday, July 11 at the United Steelworkers Local 105 hall in Bettendorf, Iowa. About 150 people were present.
In the only question asked to the candidate in Spanish by the media in attendance, Richardson was asked about the more than 100,000 Latinos living in Iowa and how he was going to gain their vote.
“With immigration reform,” he said. “And that the Latinos know that I’m Latino because they don’t know I’m Latino because of the name that I have. I support the Latino community and I hope that they know that I’m Latino.”
Bill Richardson’s name may not sound Latino but the current governor of New Mexico is fluent in Spanish. Richardson was born to a Mexican mother and grew up in Mexico City.
He touted his resume being an ambassador for
the UN, Secretary of Energy, a member of the House of Representatives, and being the current governor of the state of New Mexico.
Richardson mentioned what he’d do if he were elected president his first six days in office.
“I want to bring the country together,” he said. “I want to get out of the war in Iraq, get universal health care, revitalize American education, an economy that responds to the middle class, and a restoration of civil rights. I will follow the constitution of the United States of America.”
Affirmative Action chair for the Scott County Democrats and a member of the board of directors for the American Civil Liberties Union, Jose Bucksbaum asked the governor his stance on immigration reform.
Richardson joked that “immigration is always an easy one.”
“We need to secure our borders, I don’t think a wall will work,” he said. “If you build a 12 foot wall, you’ll have 13 foot ladders. We need to fine those who knowingly hire the undocumented and build a new relationship with Mexico.”
On the twelve million undocumented workers who are already here, Richardson said there are three scenarios.
“One, do nothing. Two, deport everybody. Or three, earned legalization,” he said.
Richardson’s earned legalization program would require the undocumented to learn to speak English, pay back taxes, a fine, embrace American values, and pass a background check. Richardson made it very clear that his proposal is not amnesty.
“The media is using the politics of fear but being practical, we set up an earned legalization program,” he said.
Jose Bucksbaum said that the governor answered his question extensively but that some points aren’t realistic.
“The fine is too high,” he said. “I don’t think that this is humane. A family with four kids, the fine would be $30,000. I’m in favor of no fine. Why should they punish the immigrants? They come here to work to better their lives.”
Scott County recorder Rita Vargas liked what Richardson said on student loans. Richardson proposed that college debt would be forgiven if the student would serve one year of military service.
“I think giving one year of your life back and forgiving your loan is a wonderful thing for the entire country,” she said.
On her views on Richardson, Vargas said, “I think he’s a wonderful candidate, He’s one of the better candidates, I saw.”

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