politics

Will We Have A Latino Vice President Or Nah?

It’s been reported that Hillary Clinton will announce her running mate on Friday, just days before the Democratic National Convention kicks off. A lot of names have been suggested for the Vice President position. Among them are the three prominent Latino politicians you see below.

Julian Castro

Credit: @Latinos4MediaEq/Twitter

Julian Castro is the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) — an Obama cabinet position — and former mayor of San Antonio. His national profile rose after delivering the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Castro is endorsed by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It also doesn’t hurt that he stumped for Clinton in Iowa, a move which some saw as trial run. The New York Times even listed the Mexican-American from Texas as a potential running mate.

Despite being the most cited Latino in Clinton’s VP short list, Castro comes with a little baggage. Back in April, a coalition of progressive groups tried to discredit him over an obscure HUD policy. The TLDR version of the attack was that Castro was allegedly making it easier for Wall Street to buy bad HUD-owned mortgages on the cheap. Several Latino political operatives saw this assault on Castro as an attack by white progressive groups throwing a Latino under the bus, which yeah, it kind of really was. But that’s not all. Castro recently violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government officials from making political statements while on official business.

Tom Perez

Official_portrait_of_United_States_Secretary_of_Labor_Tom_Perez
Credit:  Office of the Secretary for the United States Department of Labor

Thomas Perez is the current Secretary of Labor, also serving in Obama’s cabinet. We wrote a quick primer on him back in March, but in case you didn’t read that, here’s what you need to know: He’s Dominican-American, he was an assistant attorney general who focused on civil rights violations, and he’s a progressive in the vein of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. In fact, Warren once suggested Perez as possible VP pick to prominent Democrats at a party, according to Politico.

The biggest drawback to Perez is that people don’t really know who he is, and there’s no guarantee that Mexican-Americans, who make up nearly 65 percent of the total U.S. population, will be swayed by a candidate simply because he has a Spanish last name. If that were the case, something tells us that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz would’ve fared a lot better during their failed GOP presidential runs.

Xavier Becerra

Credit: @NYTNational/Twitter

Xavier Becerra is the fourth-highest ranking Democratic legislator, serving as the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. He represents California’s 34th congressional district, which includes downtown Los Angeles and the city’s Latino-heavy Boyle Heights neighborhood. Given that his district is immigrant-heavy and he himself is the child of immigrants, comprehensive immigration reform is one of Becerra’s most important issues. Becerra has also campaigned several times alongside Clinton in Latino-heavy regions, which is why his name has been mentioned in the first place.

There’s been some buzz around Becerra, though that has really come from fellow Democratic legislators like Rep. Joe Crowley (D – N.Y) and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D – S.C.). Still, despite being a deep sleeper pick, having Becerra on the ticket might not be bad for Clinton. The Democratic nominee has repeatedly stated that she not only wants to win the White House, but also take back the House and Senate from Republicans. Picking someone like Elizabeth Warren makes that a harder task. With Becerra, however, there’s no danger of Warren’s seat going to a Republican.

But will we actually have a Latino VP?

It’s hard to say, really. Now’s a good time to remind you that Clinton made a promise to the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda back April that Latinos would play a key role in her administration, and it would be shortsighted to not keep a commitment to the largest minority group in a country that’s becoming increasingly non-white. That said, recent reports suggest that the two top contenders for VP are white men. There’s also the fact that Clinton chose to skip the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference, which is like the Latino national convention. Maybe she thinks having Trump as an opponent means that she can quietly start back-stepping on some of the promises made to Latinos. We’ll see.

Julián Castro Is Promising To Confront The Growing Housing Crisis In The US With An Ambitious Housing Plan

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Julián Castro Is Promising To Confront The Growing Housing Crisis In The US With An Ambitious Housing Plan

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Presidential hopeful Julián Castro has just unveiled a plan that will address housing discrimination, homelessness and increase homeownership. The plan, part of his “People First” policy, is an area that Castro is quite familiar with as he served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President Obama. He is now using some of that experience to push forward with a plan to tackle increasingly difficult housing issues in the U.S.

Castro wants to expand housing assistance programs for the poor and give renters a tax credit.

Credit: @NBCLatino/Twitter

In unveiling the first installment of his three-part housing plan, Castro voiced the concerns that many renters and potential home buyers are feeling across the country. As home and rent prices have risen to historic numbers, many are a bad bounce or missed paycheck from living on the streets.

His housing proposal focuses on expanding federally funded vouchers to help at-risk Americans pay their rent, creating a refundable tax credit for Americans whose rent exceeds 30 percent of their income and bolster the supply of affordable housing units.

“People are experiencing an affordable housing crisis, whether they live in a red or blue community, whether they are white or black. This rental affordability touches the lives of so many,” Castro said.

Castro’s plan includes improving Section 8, a housing assistance program, which subsidizes the housing of almost 5.3 million Americans in low-income households. The program is currently only helping 25 percent of eligible families. Castro wants to expand that number and transform the program to “a fully-funded entitlement program” similar to food stamps or Social Security.

A person making the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour) is unable to afford a two-bedroom rental in any state. Castro wants to change this.

Credit: @kylegriffin/Twitter

Housing affordability is an issue that Castro has heard time and time again on the campaign trail. He wants to change this by increasing the number of affordable housing units. This will include putting money towards the construction of additional public housing and through the expansion of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

Another issue he wants to address is reducing America’s homelessness epidemic. Castro says he will create new government housing targets, increase assistance grants and invest in a variety of programs designed to help individuals who are homeless or at risk. His plan would also decriminalize homelessness and put an end to laws that discriminate against those without homes.

“Those experiencing homelessness are our most vulnerable citizens. They are single adults, veterans, families with young children, and kids on their own,” Castro said. “I know that when the public sector invests effort and money into ending homelessness — as we did during the Obama administration — we make a difference.”

According to HUD’s 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, there were about 553,000 people experiencing homelessness every night in 2018. Castro predicts that his new initiative would end homelessness for veterans and children by the end of 2024 and put a stop to chronic homelessness by the end of 2028.

Castro has also included plans for environmentally sustainable housing.

Credit:@fairweatherphd

Castro’s second part of his plan describes investing in “climate-driven” initiatives as part of an effort to achieve net-zero global greenhouse emissions by 2050 and “meet the promise of the Green New Deal.” The Green New Deal, which was introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), is a plan that calls to make the U.S. carbon neutral by 2030.

Castro’s environmental plan would establish a $200 billion Green Infrastructure Fund that would fund local and national natural energy projects. This includes increasing and steadily improving public transportation, make buildings more energy efficient, and add more public electric vehicle charging stations.

While many support the plan or ones similar to Castro’s, it begs the question of how will this all be paid for?

Credit:@gabeortiz/Twitter

According to his campaign, Castro’s housing initiatives would cost at least $970 billion over the span of 10 years, which includes $410 billion to expand the rent voucher program. While Castro’s plans for solving the U.S. housing crisis are definitely lofty, research and numbers show that the situation is only getting worse.

“I’m committed to working toward prosperity for every single American no matter their background,” Castro told NBC News. “The fact is in our nation’s history, poverty and racism have been so intertwined that we need to address both at the same time.”

READ: Julian Castro Is Running For President On A Platform Of Giving A Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million People

Charges Against Disgraced Parkland Officer And New Florida Law Raises Questions for Teachers

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Charges Against Disgraced Parkland Officer And New Florida Law Raises Questions for Teachers

@libertynation\ Twitter

The arrest of Scot Peterson, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sheriff’s deputy who heard shots fired inside the school and hid outside is raising some troubling questions for teachers.

Labeled a coward cop by many, Peterson has been charged with eleven counts of child negligence, culpable negligence, and perjury for his inaction and lies he made about his role while under oath.

Armed and tasked with providing security for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Peterson can be seen hiding in video footage during the Parkland shooting. Many parents of slain children, such Manuel and Patricia Oliver, believe that Peterson should have risked his life and entered the school and do whatever he could to stop the shooter, Nikolas Cruz on February 14, 2018.

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The aftermath of the shooting has resulted in an uprising of teen activism, the arrest of Peterson, and changes in the law.

One such law passed in Florida last month, allows teachers to carry firearms.

The law has raised many questions and much controversy, such as concerns about racism and implicit bias that many fear could result in the shooting of black students. The charges against Scot Peterson and the passage of the gun law that allows teachers to be armed in classrooms has raised questions about the responsibility of those teachers who might choose to arm themselves at school. The Florida Education Association, Florida’s teachers’ union, is particularly concerned because they fear that Peterson’s arrest, could set precedence for holding armed teachers accountable for injuries or death of students on their watch, should they choose not to use their weapon to subdue a school shooter. Tort law speaks very specifically about negligence which the teacher association fears teachers, like Peterson, could be charged with under the new law: “Negligence is the unintentional failure to live up to the community’s ideal of reasonable care, having nothing to do with moral care. An individual who has behaved negligently is one who has not lived up to a certain imputed duty or obligation to conform to a certain standard of conduct for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.”

While many believe that Peterson’s case is an anomaly and won’t set precedence, in August of 2018 the Florida Department of Education made an amendment to its insurance policy that makes it clear that armed teachers will not be covered for claims involving “armed instructional personnel while acting in the scope of their activities for the educational institution.”  And while state lawmakers have responded to the Parkland shooting by allowing more guns in public places, in this case schools, the Florida department of education has protected itself itself from lawsuits brought by parents or relatives of those who could be injured as a result of an armed teacher.

Twitter

When a state passes a law that encourages teachers to arm themselves to protect children in the classroom from school shooters, presumably other children, many other questions should be raised?

Is the hero teacher narrative at play? Is it fair to encourage teachers, trained to educate America’s children, to arm themselves and protect them or face neglect charges when they don’t or couldn’t?

Shouldn’t we be focused on common sense gun laws? Does it make sense to allow firearms in school?

When it comes to both a rallying cry for common sense gun laws and charges of negligence against Scot Peterson, many on Twitter are asking some of these questions and more.

TruthBeTold wants to know why the federal government isn’t being held responsible for not enacting strict gun laws and asks “What about Congress” What about the president? Didn’t they also fail to protect those children?”

12yearlagavulin and jon-e-lingo point out the irony of laws that protect police offers who shoot unarmed men but convict of negligence. Jonelingo points out how unlikely it would have been for Peterson to face jail time had he actually shot someone rather doing what he did which was not shoot.

Many on Twitter called Peterson a coward for not doing his job or being willing to “put his life on the line. Others, like Junebug, believe he’s being unfairly scapegoated.

Twitter user @LopezMaddox made a donut joke about the Broward cop to make about about Peterson’s lack of action.

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