By E.A. Barrera
Labor and Women’s rights organizer Dolores Huerta headlined a campaign event for New York Senator Hillary Clinton this past Sunday, December 23 in Chula Vista. Huerta, who worked closely with Cesar Chavez, lead a campaign phoning party at the home of local Latino activist Bea Fernandez.
Attendees worked to get out the vote for Clinton in advance of the January 3, 2008 Iowa Caucuses and January 8, 2008 New Hampshire Primary. Clinton is currently the national front-runner for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, but the races in Iowa and New Hampshire between Clinton, Illinois Senator Barack Obama and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards are considered too close to call.
In 1962 Huerta teamed with Chavez to form the National Farm Workers Association, the predecessor to the United Farm Workers Union. Through the 1960s and 1970s, Huerta and Chavez organized farm workers and their families throughout the San Joaquin Valley and farmlands across California.
Joining Huerta was Assemblywoman Mary Salas and Richard Chavez, brother of the late labor right’s leader and married to Huerta. Salas publicly endorsed Clinton last Spring and appeared with her at a press conference during the California State Democratic Convention on April 28.
Clinton received the endorsements of California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez during the State Convention. The Clinton campaign has made an early and concerted effort to court Latino voters. The California Primary will be held on February 5th, along with several other states, including Colorado, where Clinton recently announced the formation of its Colorado Hispanic Leadership Council.
“Hispanics in Colorado know that Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to create the real change America needs,” said Colorado State Senator Paula Sandoval on December 19. “She has been fighting for children and families and creating opportunities for every American.”
“I am very excited about receiving the support from these community leaders,” said Hillary Clinton in a press release issued the same day. “The Hispanic community will play a key role in the February 5th caucus, and I look forward to working with them to help put our country back on track.”
Attorney and Latino political activist Steven Ybarra noted the high level of Latino support for Clinton.
“You’ve got Solis and Raul Yzaguirre (former president of the National Council of La Raza) as major players in her campaign. She sees the numbers and understands where the votes will come from,” said Ybarra. “Latinos will decide the next president of the United States. By 2020 we will control this state.”