Hispanic business leaders must step up at election time

by Tucson Hispanic Chamber on February 21st, 2013

By Glenn Hamer and Lea Marquez Peterson |
Published in Inside Tucson Business

The Hispanic business community has a lot at stake in this election. The unemployment rate is 13.4 percent among Hispanics in Arizona and about 39 percent of Hispanics in the state live in poverty. Business growth is stagnant. With so much on the line, Arizona’s continued economic advancement and the elimination of stubbornly high joblessness, requires a collective effort to support candidates that will make job creation and economic growth a priority. Together, we must impact change.

Our current economic impasse is a result of bad policy decisions, ranging from immigration to healthcare to tax policy, made in Washington, D.C., our state Capitol and city halls. When policy makers think they know best and impose burdensome regulations and high taxes on businesses, economic growth is stifled and businesses’ ability to innovate and create jobs is impeded.[Mr Car Wash - 300 x 600 - VIP]Good policy matters to business. We need reform that eliminates tax and regulation practices that increase costs and reduce net revenue so businesses can invest in the future and create jobs. Implementing appropriate reform to immigration policies and engaging in solutions that promote the importance of foreign and Mexican-born residents to the Southern Arizona economy, is important to building a strong workforce and increasing employment.

We also need raise education standards so that we produce graduates prepared to compete in the 21st century global economy and that are qualified for the jobs businesses need to grow.

The Nov. 6 election presents an opportunity to promote a pro-economy and pro-jobs voice in the political dialogue to influence policy. To move our economy forward and open the door for prosperity for the Hispanic community, we must know the issues, know the candidates and vote accordingly. Look to VotaAZ.org to provide the organization and information we need to make informed choices. It is the first ever pro-prosperity project aimed at providing Hispanic business leaders a way to educate their employees.

VotaAZ serves as a central resource in Hispanic voter education on important issues including our wages, benefits, job security and personal prosperity. The information available online in both Spanish and English includes guidelines on registering to vote and objective and easy to understand documents about candidates and important business issues.

With Election Day nearly upon us, it’s crucial for Hispanic business leaders to play their roles in employee education efforts and build on the efforts of VotaAZ. Research has revealed that employees view business leaders as reliable and credible experts on economic growth and job creation. Business leaders and groups can share online tools available through VotaAZ with their organizations and host voter registration and education events to raise awareness among the workforce about issues impacting their jobs and industry.

It’s too late for this election but we must also be sure we are registered to vote. Hispanics make up 31.2 percent of Arizona’s population, yet estimates show that 405,300 of Hispanics who are eligible to vote have not registered. We make up a huge part of the voting bloc and our voice can make a difference.

When we are registered to vote and informed on the issues, we will participate in elections and support pro-growth and pro-prosperity candidates to better our lives. Together, we will eliminate roadblocks to business investment and growth. Together, we can ensure our elected officials help us strive toward a future of prosperity and economic security for our families.

Contact Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, at ghamer@azchamber.orgor Lea Marquez Peterson, president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, at president@tucsonhispanicchamber.org.

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