The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) issued the following statement on Tuesday. It kind of speaks for itself, but just in case you want the headline: both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will not be attending NALEO’s annual conference this weekend, the very same conference Barack Obama and Senator John McCain addressed in 2008, as well as President Obama and Mitt Romney did in 2012. In short, do elected Latino officials even matter to this country’s two presumptive presidential nominees? Guess not. (FYI: 2016 Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Bernie Sanders will address NALEO.)
As elected and appointed officials on the front lines of America’s communities, the next President of the United States will need to work with the NALEO constituency on behalf of the millions of constituents they represent nationwide. Leading cities and counties, schools, police forces, fire departments and more, NALEO members are charged with charting a course for the future strength, vitality, and success of the communities they represent.
Our nation’s Latino leaders grapple with the day-to-day reality of having to ensure the safety and resiliency of their communities with fewer resources than ever before. The horrific terrorist attack on the Latino and LGBTQ communities just days ago underscores the continued challenges our nation’s local elected and appointed officials are facing today.
Given the extraordinary role our nation’s Latino leaders play in keeping the wheels of our country turning during times of crisis and peace, it is important that NALEO members hear directly from the candidates vying for the nation’s highest office. The tragic events in Orlando that shook the foundations of the LGBTQ and Latino community, and all Americans, make the presence of the presumptive nominees even more critical.
With the NALEO conference serving as the largest gathering of Latino elected and appointed officials in the country and the first national platform to address the greater Latino community following the Orlando massacre, this is a significant missed opportunity for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to provide guidance and support to our nation’s Latino leadership at a critical time. Their absence is an affront to the contributions and sacrifices our Latino elected and appointed officials make to this country each and every day.