Latino members of the Legislature have formed an alliance designed to educate the public, provide leadership training, and promote public safety and health care legislation.
Sen. Richard Miranda, D-Phoenix, and his brother, Rep. Ben R. Miranda, D-Phoenix, founded the group, the Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation, in April.
A KidsCare telethon is next on the agenda for the group. The caucus plans to call communities to ensure that families are aware of KidsCare, Arizona’s State Children’s Health Insurance Program. In addition, members of the caucus want to help families determine if they qualify for the program.
In April 2008, the group plans to implement a water safety and pool fence repair program.
Richard Miranda noted that the Maryvale area has had the highest number of drownings and near-drowning incidents. Miranda said they hoped to reach out to communities in Yuma and Tucson, too.
Miranda wants to see the leadership training aspect of the group implemented in late 2008. He said the training will be provided for the general public, including people in the community who want to become members of the legislature.
The group plans to stand firm on budget issues in next year’s legislative session. Miranda said: “The state revenue forecasts are not good, so we want to ensure there is no cut in funding for those programs important in communities. These programs are education and in particular health care. One example is diabetes. Diabetes education outreach was cut the year prior from $1 million to $300,000 this past year. Diabetes is a growing disease and affects all communities in Arizona.”
The caucus plans to hold public forums in the future on a variety of topics ranging from economics, health, science and higher education.
The 501(c)(3) organization found inspiration for its formation from similar Latino groups in Texas, Illinois, and California. The group most recently held a fundraising golf tournament on Oct. 19 at Vistal Golf Course in Phoenix.