The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda launched a nonpartisan campaign in the fall of 2015 to engage presidential candidates and educate them about the depth and breadth of policy issues that are important to Latinos.The Latino community is growing rapidly in the United States, both in population and in our contribution to the economic, social and cultural life of the nation. And yet, some presidential candidates have not paid proportional attention to Latinos. It is critical for candidates to understand the needs of the Latino population because our priorities are, by definition, the priorities of the United States as a whole. America cannot succeed unless Latinos also succeed.
NHLA Meets with Presidential Candidates
The NHLA launched its Presidential Engagement Campaign by inviting all candidates to meet with its coalition members -- the leaders of the nation’s 40 pre-eminent Latino nonpartisan advocacy organizations. Each campaign was sent a letter of invitation on September 8, 2015 and the NHLA received responses from three candidates. On October 5, 2015 our coalition had a conference call with Secretary Hillary Clinton. On October 7, 2015, we met with Governor Martin O’Malley. On October 8, 2015, we met with Senator Bernie Sanders during our NHLA board meeting.
On October 29, 2015, the NHLA sent a second letter inviting the rest of the presidential candidates to meet but they went unanswered. On February 3, 2016, the NHLA sent a third letter inviting the remaining presidential candidates to meet with the coalition. Not a single Republican has responded to the invitation after three invitations.
2016 NHLA Policy Agenda and Presidential Candidate Questionnaire
On February 25th, the NHLA released its quadrennial Hispanic Public Policy Agenda, along with a presidential candidate questionnaire, inviting each candidate to submit their responses by March 25. The questionnaire asked for candidate’s proposals regarding 20 of the most pressing issues facing the Latino community in the areas of economic opportunity, labor, immigration, education, civil rights, government accountability, health, environment, and energy. The goal of the candidate questionnaire is to provide the Latino community with an additional resource to learn about the substantive positions of those seeking our nation’s highest office.
The NHLA will publicly share the questionnaire responses received from the candidates thus far, and will still accept responses from those who missed the deadline, culminating the release of a nonpartisan voter guide that shares the candidates’ responses without editorial comment so that Latino voters can use it as one of many resources in educating themselves about the presidential candidates.
The NHLA will continue its engagement with the presidential candidates and the platform committees of the two major political parties during the national party conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia this July with public presentations and discussions of the 2016 Hispanic Public Policy Agenda.
Following the major parties’ conventions, the NHLA will request meetings with the Democratic and Republican nominees to discuss the priorities of the Latino community in advance of the general election.