Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Orlando Sanchez for Harris County Treasurer

I've recently got involved in a new networking group called The Executive Committee, which is designed to be something of an Uber Networking organization. It is really quite new, but the recent attendees have been extremely impressive. Recently, former Houston City Councilman Orlando Sanchez spoke to the group about several key issues and what is going on in the political process in general.

For those who don't remember, Orlando twice ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Houston in two relatively tight races (especially the first one in which he won the majority of the vote in the general, but lost an extremely tight run off). In a weird twist of fate, he unsuccessfully challenged County Treasurer Jack Cato in the Republican Primary. Cato won that race, but surprisingly lost his life shortly thereafter. Precinct Chairs of the Republican Party voted to replace Cato and 66 percent favored Sanchez. He will be the Republican nominee. Meanwhile, Democrats are rallying to actually get rid of this office because of that Party's apparent concern of a Hispanic being elected to such an office as a Conservative Republican.

Orlando's critics have said for years that he is simply too Anglo. The popular joke about Mr. Sanchez is that the only thing Hispanic about him is his name. Those who say that, simply don't know him. There is a Latin immigrant stereotype that, frankly, paints an entire race with a very broad brush and both parties tend to want to exploit that view. Orlando is definitely Hispanic and is proud of that heritage. He just came to this country in a way that most people in the media are simply unaware. His parents came here legally when he was very young and were originally from Cuba. Pre-1960 Cubans (like the Sanchez family) are strong believers in traditional family values, limited government, anti-Communism, and a respect for law. In fact, some of the strongest opponents of illegal immigration are members of this unique demographic group. People don't recognize him as Hispanic because the media (which is the vehicle who tends to shape a candidate's image) has a very one dimensional view of this ethnic group. Further, I would say, a very racist view of both Orlando and Hispanics in general. Don't get me wrong here, the bulk of Hispanics who have come since the 1960s share conservative values and interested in working hard, contributing to the American Dream, and taking care of their families. The media doesn't understand them as well.

On the stump, Orlando is very articulate. The media has treated him as "dry" and even "unconvincing" in media reports, but in his presentation, he was very powerful. He gave everyone the sense that he was speaking to us individually. He actually has a very powerful style of communication and I believe that would translate well in his leadership.

His presentation had little to do with the County Treasurer race. Instead, a significant focus was on immigration. He is a very strong believer in immigration, but an even bigger advocate of the law. He believes that America's national sovereignty hangs in the balance without a reform approach that keeps the borders safer and our expectations of future citizens, higher. Although I'm sure he had this focus because he thought it would be interesting to this audience, many of us had the sense that he really should be pursuing something on the state or even federal level. I say this because those type of issues seem to be his passion. Yet, I only became more convinced that he is competent to lead on many levels, including County Treasure and wish he could have been our mayor. He's still young and certainly has plenty of time to make a continued difference in public policy. I believe the Republican Party should do all it can to get him in front of larger audiences and in higher offices. He is good for business, the county, the country and for the Republican Party.

I didn't entirely agree with him on the issue of immigration. I, personally, have this sense that if roles were reversed, I might be tempted to do whatever I could to get in this country. Further, I believe our economy needs the large number of immigrants we have and will continue to need them in the further. But his sincerity is huge and I know he hates the staus quo which makes so many believe their only choice is an illegal one.

Mr. Sanchez is articulate, intelligent, and speaks with candor. I believe he would be excellent for many offices and look forward to voting for him for County Treasurer.

The above is a personal endorsement of Kevin Price and not that of CNN 650, HoustonBusiness.com, or HoustonBusinessReview.com


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