Black, Latino officials barnstorm for Obama
Yawu Miller | 10/17/2012, 9:24 a.m.
At University of New Hampshire, District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson has been firing up crowds of students, registering them to vote and securing pledges that their ballots will be cast for President Obama come Nov. 6.
At University of North Carolina Greensboro, State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry has been rallying students for the Obama campaign, securing votes for the president through that state’s same-day registration and early balloting process. Forry, who is Haitian-American, has also been interviewed on Haitian creole radio stations, black radio stations and in other news media to drum up support for Obama.
The local politicians are part of an Obama campaign strategy to use officials in safe states like Massachusetts — states where his campaign is assured victory in November — to campaign in the so-called battleground states where neither his campaign nor the campaign of former Gov. Mitt Romney has a secure majority of votes.
“Folks need to realize that in 2000, if Gore had won New Hampshire, Florida wouldn’t have mattered,” Jackson says. “He lost New Hampshire by just 7,000 votes.”
At-large City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo was deployed to Denver, Colo. to speak on behalf of the Obama campaign during the first presidential debate.
“I was speaking to what Romney’s record was as governor of Massachusetts and at the same time speaking about who would be a better president for Latinos and people of color,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo’s bi-lingual credentials helped make him a valuable asset to the Obama campaign in Colorado, where much of the media market is Spanish-speaking. He conducted interviews with Denver affiliates of Univision, Telemundo, Mundo Fox and local Spanish print and radio outlets as well as with mainstream media.
“Romney was a pretty bad governor and his record shows [that],” Arroyo says. “When he was governor of Massachusetts, the state was 47th out of 50 states in job creation. He really doesn’t have a record of creating jobs.”
State Sen. Sonia Chang Diaz has taken to the airwaves as a representative of the Obama campaign. On Tuesday morning she appeared on New England Cable News, blasting Romney for his flip-flopping on issues.
“I can imagine that it is difficult for an undecided voter to make a decision at this point because they’re hearing really inconsistent, wildly swinging different statements from Governor Romney about what he believes in and what his plans are for this country,” she said.
The most prominent Massachusetts politician stumping for the president, of course, is Gov. Deval Patrick, who has drawn fire from Republicans here for leaving the state during the fallout from the evidence-tampering scandal at the state drug lab and the distribution of fungal-meningitis-tainted pharmaceuticals from a Framingham drug firm.
State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, who is chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health, has had to navigate those same crises at home while traveling on behalf of the Obama campaign in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Iowa, Colorado and Illinois.
Sanchez says his district has a lot riding on the success of the Obama administration’s pledge to invest in programs that benefit local communities.