Harry Reid vs. Latino Conservative Republican

While on the campaign trail Tuesday, Harry Reid said, "I don't know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican." Ruben Estrada, President of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Orange County, NY, has a few words to say regarding Harry Reid's outrageous remarks:

I am appalled and insulted with such a question from the US Senate Leader Harry Reid. I can only attribute the question as a sign of desperation realizing that Hispanic Americans are a significant major electorate which are no longer guaranteed to the Democratic party and are not only Republicans, Conservatives and yes Tea Party members. This again is a continued effort of use of race in polarizing Americans. He as many others Democrats continue to ask how and why Republican and a Puerto Rican / Hispanic? They are the same Liberals Democrats who always spewed the rhetoric that they are advocates of equality, women and inclusion of all. Except, if you are a pro life conservative thinking female, Latino or other free thinking person with values other then liberal need not apply at the Democratic Party.

We Republicans must take pride in being the party with demonstrated leadership in diversity by our past policies, sensitivities and major Latino appointments. Let us not forget the many Latinos appointed by Republican Presidential administrations in my time, dating back to President Nixon. As Hispanic Republicans we must see the question posed by Senator Reid this as a call to action. The timing is such that we as a party cannot allow for the Democrats to develop any reasons of perceived conflicts with our Hispanic community and we should embrace the Hispanic electorate.

It is not us to be seen as haters or exclusive. Now, more than ever, I truly believe the party leadership with its interest of inclusion of the Hispanic community must regroup with the main objective of maintaining our position as the party of Hispanic’s. We must advocate for the alternative, downplay the hate spewed by the Democrats and conduct aggressive inclusion initiative and identify, support qualified Hispanic candidates. This can only be achieved by toning down the attacks and galvanizing the historically loyal Hispanic Republicans for an identified, positive unified approach.

Now allow me to answer the question with my experiences. For my entire teenage and adult life I have had to answer such question.

I will answer the Question of why a Republican. I begin my writing by sharing some important history. I began my journey as a Republican at the age of 14, during 1967 civil rights era. Although not of age to vote, I realized then my mind was made up. At my age of 14 in East Harlem (El Barrio) fortunate to have been raised by both Puerto Rican my parents who instilled life rules, values of which today are interpreted and defined as very conservative values, I see them, as just values.

As any other 14 year old Puerto Rican in Spanish Harlem (El Barrio) I was playing stickball, stoopball and other sidewalk games to past the time. One day I was ask by my mother and sent on an errand to the La Marquetta located on 111th St and Park Ave, an open food market which span several blocks under the metro north railroad. While I walked to the market I observed many people, a large crowd on 110th Lexington Ave. I immediately thought this was another crime scene or an emergency response and continued. Yet, my curiosity of youth and a natural instinct of community involvement, my focus shifted and I decided to see what the commotion was about.

To my surprise it was a political rally, not just a political rally but a major political rally. Moreover, on the mobile flat bed truck I recognized NYS Governor Nelson Rockefeller. I decided to stay and listen for a while. Once on the stage Governor Rockefeller began to roll up his sleeves of his white shirt; later I learned a signature move. To my astonishment he began to address me and a very large crowd in my first language; Spanish. The language was spoken fluently and made me feel welcomed and his message personalized. I was totally impressed. Additionally, while listening to him in Spanish I observed that on stage and close to him were four persons that looked like me, all high ranking Latinos of his administration.

That was when I realized I was bitten politically.

I was so impressed I had to find out who were those guys. I later inquired and put names to the persons on stage Mr. Angel Rivera, Mr. Manuel Gonzalez, Carlos Rios and Edward Mercado all members of the Puerto Rican / Hispanic Young Republicans of New York State. Governor Nelson Rockefeller appointed more Latinos / Minorities to his administration than any other NYS Governor since. Moreover I befriended the group of Hispanic Republican leaders they took me under their tutelage mentoring me and in 1970 sponsored me to Teenage Republican School (TAR), Siena College. The subsequent two years I attended TAR School and in 1972 at age 19 was nominated and attended my first convention as a floor Convention Delegate Page at the Republican National Convention, Miami Beach Fl. Immediately thereafter I became a staff member of the Committee to Re-Elect President Nixon.

Below I must share some additional relevant history of my personal hero and role model Oscar Garcia Rivera- Republican. It takes great pleasure and pride to introduce you to Oscar Garcia Rivera.

Oscar Garcia Rivera- Republican

Oscar Garcia Rivera served in the New York State Assembly from 1937 to 1940. Oscar Garcia Rivera, the first Puerto Rican to be elected New York State Assemblyman and first to elective office in the continental United State. Moreover, a Republican. His election was a milestone since he was able to unseat a 24-year Tammany Hall incumbent Democrat. Personally, Mr. Garcia has played an important role and has been a true inspiration as a role model in my political life. As a young Republican growing up in East Harlem (El Barrio) it was very lonely as it must have been for Oscar Garcia Rivera. As an out spoken and active Republican I experienced much difficulty since may party affiliation was not embraced, accepted and was outright dangerous. For many years I felt that the Republican Party and that which it represented was truly reflective of my personal thoughts, values and that of my community. Understanding the great obstacles and adversities of which Mr. Oscar Garcia Rivera must had endured made my situation a bit more tolerable and yet more persistent.

The rest of my personal life as a Conservative Republican is history, then as a young man as now, I believe the Republican Party is the true Party of inclusion, reform, prosperity and peace. I have taken the liberty of including my political and civic profile.


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