Latino Coalition Seeking Face Time With 2016 Candidates

Image: English-Spanish Signs Front Election Center In Texas
AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 28: A bilingual sign stands outside a polling center at public library ahead of local elections on April 28, 2013 in Austin, Texas. Early voting was due to begin Monday ahead of May 11 statewide county elections. The Democratic and Republican parties are vying for the Latino vote nationwide following President Obama's landslide victory among Hispanic voters in the 2012 election. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)John Moore / Getty Images

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By Griselda Nevarez

A coalition of 40 Latino advocacy organizations has sent a letter to all candidates running for president in which it lays out a series of policies the coalition identified as important to Latinos and requesting a meeting with each candidate.

The letter sent out last week by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda makes policy recommendations on various issues, including the economy, immigration, education, health care, civil rights, and voting rights.

“We invite and fully expect the candidates to review our recommendations and meet with us to discuss their plans to address these issues," Hector Sanchez, NHLA chair and executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, said in a statement. The meetings will not be public.

NHLA already has received responses from the three major Democratic presidential candidates — Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, a Republican — and is finalizing details with Clinton regarding a meeting.

In the letter, NHLA identifies eight policy priorities that it says will help close the gaps that exist between Latinos and the rest of the nation. They include increasing the minimum wage, reforming the nation’s immigration system, improving the education outcomes of Latino students, continuing to implement the Affordable Care Act and protecting voting rights.

The letter concludes by saying that the policy priorities listed in the letter “are the cornerstones of a strong future for America and its territories. By elevating these priorities in your campaign, you will be able to connect with Latinos across the nation in helping you make them a reality.”

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