Romney in Orlando, addresses NALEO members

Romney+in+Orlando%2C+addresses+NALEO+members

Bryan Levine / Valencia Voice

Mitt Romney addresses members of NALEO in Orlando, Thursday afternoon.

After Mitt Romney’s address to Latino officials at the NALEO conference on Thursday, June 21, some were left wanting more.

“Enough is enough,” said City of Orlando Commissioner Tony Ortiz. “Enough of those days when someone could just come over and say ‘Yes, I’m going to fix the problem’ but don’t tell you how.”

While at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ annual conference, it was expected that Romney would make his case to Latino voters on why he is the best candidate for the White House.

“Today, I’m asking you to join me,” said Romney. “Because while we may not agree on everything, we have the same goal, the same vision, and the same belief in American greatness that draws so many people to our shores.”

The former governor of Massachusetts and presumptive republican presidential nominee talked about the economy and its effect on Hispanics, giving statistics that proved his point while using them to criticize President Barack Obama’s first term.

“As you know, Hispanics have been hit disproportionately hard. While national unemployment is still above eight percent ,and has been for forty straight months, Hispanic unemployment is 11 percent,” said Romney. “The middle class under President Obama has been crushed.”

With the economy being the main topic, Romney eventually moved on to issues like education, leaving immigration for the end. Before moving on, however, he closed the economic based part of his speech by making another run at proving he is the right choice to be made.

“[President Obama] will imply that you don’t really have an alternative, I believe he is taking your vote for granted,” said Romney.  “I’ve come today with a very simple message. You do have an alternative. Your vote should be respected and your voice is more important now than ever.”

As for education he promised to give low income parents the right to choose which schools their children attend, saying that the parent’s choice will mean more chances for children.

When talking about immigration he addressed the president’s executive order, saying he would replace it with a long term bipartisan solution.

“Liberty torch can burn as brightly for future generations of immigrants as it has burned for immigrants of the past”, said Romney on immigration.

He talked about making legal immigration easier, securing the border and keeping families together, but avoided mentioning any action that would impact immigrants already in the United States.

As for undocumented students he promised to “attach a green card” to the diplomas of any immigrants getting an advanced degree in the United States. He reinforced his stance by giving examples of Latino influence in the economy.

“Immigrants founded or co-founded nearly half of our top 50 companies in this country,” said Romney. “They are 30 percent more likely to start a business and that kind of risk taking is something we need more than ever.”

Another top immigration issue was that of undocumented veterans and active military personnel, for those individuals he promised guaranteed citizenship.

“As President I would stand for a path to legal status for anyone who is willing to stand up and defend this great nation through military service,” said Romney. “Those who risk their lives in defense of America have earned the right to make their life in America.”

His stance on all of the issues, however did not include any steps, or a specific plan, as to how this promises and statements will come to be. For NALEO members, like state committee member from the Orange County Democratic Party James Auffant and Commissioner Ortiz, it was not enough.

“Why didn’t he answer the question? He talked about Obama and the DREAM act and the fact that he plans to do something permanent, but what is he going to do and how is it going to be permanent?” said Auffant.

“We are here to see the candidates and to see what they have to offer,” said Ortiz. “We come with open minds and to see both ends of the spectrum, but as we have both said, give us details.

The NALEO 29th annual conference will receive an address by President Obama on Friday, June 21.