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DJcairo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 06:30 PM
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Kerry Draws Phoenix Latinos
September 14, 2003
The Arizona Republic
By Susie Steckner

Phoenix -

A Saturday morning rally in Phoenix for presidential contender Sen. John Kerry drew about 100 people who cheered the campaign's support of Latinos and rallied around the hope of returning a Democrat to the White House.

Kerry, who did not attend the rally, represents Massachusetts in the Senate. He was praised as a "workhorse" in Congress and for his service as a Vietnam veteran.

"He represents Main Street, not Wall Street," said featured speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, a Los Angeles city councilman and former speaker of the California State Assembly.

Kerry supporters, largely Latino and of all ages, filed into the hall of Local 383 of the Laborers Union at 512 W. Adams St. to the sounds of live mariachi music. They were welcomed with traditional Mexican fare and signs bearing messages such as "Phoenix con Kerry."

Politicians and community leaders mixed with curious Democrats, young political newcomers and plainly dressed working folks. Speakers addressed the crowd in both Spanish and English.

Carmen Figueroa, 32, of Phoenix, came to learn more about Kerry.

"It's exciting to get a Democrat back to the White House," said Figueroa, who works in the banking industry.

Joe Garcia, 45, of Glendale, is hoping that Kerry, if elected, will put a sharp focus on employment to strengthen the economy. The rally prompted the clinical therapist and administrator to update his voter registration.

The rally was led by state Rep. Ben Miranda, a first-term representative from south Phoenix who this week announced that he was dropping his endorsement of Sen. Joe Lieberman in favor of Kerry.

Miranda was joined by several west-side politicians, including Litchfield Park Mayor Woody Thomas, El Mirage Mayor Robert Robles and Avondale Vice Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers. Lopez Rogers said she is banking on Kerry's support of Luke and Davis-Monthan Air Force Bases.

Also on hand was Randy Camacho, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress last year. He drew applause as he told the crowd, "It's time that we take back the White House."

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