Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Obama campaign reaches out to Latino voters in Los Angeles

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Education, the environment and childhood obesity were among the top issues discussed Friday at a Latino roundtable in South Los Angeles hosted by the Obama reelection campaign.

Presidential senior adviser Valerie Jarrett joined El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero, L.A. City Councilman Ed Reyes and Maria Elena Durazo of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor to talk about issues that are important to Latino voters this election season. The talk was open to campaign volunteers and reporters.

“Although California isn’t a battleground state, what you’re doing on the phones is so important because we have key states such as Nevada and Colorado that aren’t that far away,” Jarrett said.

The president appears to have a stronghold on the Latino vote. The latest Gallup poll shows Obama leading Republican nominee Mitt Romney 64 percent to 27 percent among Latino voters.

“Realistically, we need the Latino community to also get involved, to trust the political process a little bit more,” said Bertrand Perdomo, who heads Latinos for Obama in California.

As with most voters, the economy is the number one issue for Latinos, Perdomo said.

“They’re concerned about health care, they’re concerned about education and, of course, immigration reform impacts them, and so those are the top four issues when we look at the Latino community.”

Campaign volunteer Jasmine Hernandez was 18-years-old when she voted for Obama in 2008. The president’s work to fund Pell Grants and to take on student loan debt motivated her to get involved with the campaign.

“It’s really hard right now to pay for college, especially when you don’t have that help from your parents,” Hernandez said. “So it’s really good what he’s doing. He’s really helped out a lot of Latino families who want their kids to go to college but can’t afford it.” 

The president will be in Los Angeles on Oct. 7 for a fundraiser at the Nokia Theater.

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