Out of all the things that have happened since my big move to Washington, nothing comes close to how rewarding it was to meet the President of the United States.
The Latino vote that reelected Barack Obama two months ago sent a clear message to not only politicians, but also to the government and a business community that still struggles to accept that the demographic in this country changed.
Early this week when the television commentariat went into overdrive with observations about the largely white and male Obama second term cabinet that appears to be taking shape, there was lots of talk about the fact that Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor and one of the highest ranking Latinas in the federal government, Attorney General Eric Holder, the first African American to lead the Justice Department, and others would likely remain in place. On Wednesday, the prognosticators were proved at least partially wrong. Solis announced plans to step down.
Legislators in three states are preparing marriage equality bills. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus included protections for binational same-sex couples in its guidelines for immigration reform. And in March the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two marriage cases.
Largely driven by a spate of new laws and policies, including new restrictions on the type of ID that voters can use and flawed voter purges, conservative legislatures stopped at nothing to make it harder to register to vote, harder to cast a ballot, and harder to have a vote counted.
If Republicans want to win the White House again, whatever their stance, they have to at least be able to move far enough left on immigration to accept the DREAM Act; if not, they won't be able to win elections outside a dwindling number of places with a majority of old, white male voters.
Once again, we have been "discovered" but this time, instead of being a passing fad, there is more discussion on how to reach and connect with this increasingly growing political, economic and educated demographic.
Folks, it is a new day in America. There is a new kind of rhythm in the streets. There is a new kind of voice in the fray. There is a new kind of optimism in the wind. Welcome to the Obama Era.
Latinos have a great deal at stake in the debate over the fiscal cliff. Not only are Hispanics a growing share of the electorate that will continue to amplify its voice in the political process, they are an increasingly vital force in our economy.
After the results of the presidential election, even far right Republican Sherriff Joe Arpaio, famous for his bullish anti-immigrant stance, says that he wants to work with the Latino community.
With these characters anchoring the GOP to a losing past, will the party be able to change direction on immigration enough that they will be able to win national elections again?
In their desire to rehabilitate their anti-immigrant image, Republican lawmakers have been scrambling to put forth immigration bills far short of anything comprehensive as initially called for by House Speaker Boehner.
The principles are thoughtful, fair, humane and pragmatic. They also reflect the unity of the Latino community -- regardless of subgroup, geography, or party affiliation -- on the issues surrounding immigration.
Is "big" vs. "small" government even a valid question anymore? A robust defense of entrepreneurship and the private sector is still politically popular, but Latinos -- like many younger Americans - don't see this as mutually exclusive with more government.
Despite the strides made during election 2012 to ensure that Latino representation at the state and congressional levels is beginning to mirror the demographics of our country, there is still much work to be done.
Latinos aren't fooled by such measures that reward one set of immigrants over others and, most importantly, don't provide a path to citizenship for individuals who are every bit American.