Fil-Am Democrats to visit White House

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

March 13, 2014

LOS ANGELES – It was a historic meeting of Filipino-American Democrats in Los Angeles.

For years, they’ve struggled for representation in mainstream politics. Over the weekend, they exchanged ideas with elected Fil-Ams like Assemblyman Rob Bonta, West Sacramento Mayor Chris Cabaldon, Carson Mayor Pro Tem Lito Santarina, and Cerritos Mayor Pro Temp Mark Pulido who spoke to the Filipino American Democratic Caucus.

“Now that we’re at the point we can be recognized we should recognize everyone who’s been part of that movement and has been leading us,” State Chair Melissa Ramoso said. “So this is very great event and very monumental and I’m just proud to be serving with my board and the Democratic Party.”

These Filipinos will be at the White House on Friday, where they hope to bring up key issues concerning Filipino Americans like immigration and temporary protected status.

“We don’t know when the next chance we’ll have to do this,” Ramoso said. “When there will be another president who will allow us to be in his house and speak about issues that are current to us and what we should be looking forward to in the future. It’s very exciting.”

Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., who visited the Filipino caucus says immigration reform continues to be a priority for the Democrats.

“All we’re saying is we want John Boehner to give us the vote, allow us to vote,” the Japanese-American Democrat said. “I’m pretty sure we can pass it. I got 197 Democrats, 30 Republicans to sit in the shadows waiting for the opportunity to vote.”

In the meantime the Republican National Convention announced its National Advisory Council.

The Asian American councils include several Filipino-Americans including former Ohio congressman Steve Austria and community leader Cecil Ramos from Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles.

Ramos says Republican Filipinos have had the same honor of being invited to the White House on several occasions under George Bush’s terms.

While at least a hundred Filipinos will meet in Washington DC, KAYA says that a majority will come from California.

While the White House visit will last three hours, the two hundred plus Filipinos visiting will have some work to do; including a town hall meeting and a reception for the elected Fil-Am leaders.
You can contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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