Palm Beach County GOP begins building bridges to minorities

After the March release of the GOP’s “autopsy report” on the 2012 elections, the Republican National Committee pledged to spend $10 million in 2013 alone on minority outreach programs. Now, the local party is getting on board.

The RNC commissioned “The Growth and Opportunity Project” to figure out what went wrong in 2012 and identify strategies for improvement.

Diana Arteaga Mike Barnett
Diana Arteaga from CFO Jeff Atwater’s office with Republican Party of Palm Beach County Vice Chairman Mike Barnett
Photo Credit: Marisol Guntkowski

“In both 2008 and 2012, President Obama won a combined 80 percent of the votes of all minority voters, including not only African Americans but also Hispanics, Asians, and others,” the study found. “Unless the RNC gets serious about tackling this problem, we will lose future elections; the data demonstrates this.”

Well, the Republican Party of Palm Beach County got the point and has been working to spread the conservative message through its minority outreach caucuses.

Under the coordination of party Vice Chairman Mike Barnett, the county’s Latino Outreach Caucus and Haitian Caucus are reaching out to two large minority-voting segments in the county.

Damon Roberson Steve Avila
Damon Roberson (L) with Latino Outreach Caucus Chairman Steve Avila
Photo Credit: Marisol Guntkowski

Latino Outreach Caucus Chairman Steve Avila, 23, hosted a “Voter Outreach Kick-Off” party Friday that had Hispanic leaders working together to “turn out the vote among the county’s growing Latino community.”

“Representatives from CFO Atwater’s office, Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber President Sam Roman, and former Palm Beach County State Attorney candidate Dina Keever spoke to the diverse group of attendees,” Avila said in a statement to BizPac Review. “The speeches all pointed back to the importance of outreach and stepping outside of comfort zones.”

Phito Thelot
Haitian Caucus Chairman Phito Thelot
Photo Credit: Marisol Guntkowski

Barnett and Haitian Caucus Chairman Phito Thelot have organized a Haitian Republican Party Summit with special guest Gerard Latortue, Haiti’s former prime minister. Over 60 conservative Haitian community leaders from Florida and Haiti are expected to attend.

Gov. Rick Scott was invited to Tuesday’s summit to see how the county GOP and the Haitian Outreach Caucus are “developing an international connection between the Republican Party and this conservative organization with roots in Haiti,” Scott’s invitation said.

The summit will be held Tuesday, July 23, at 2 p.m. in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, located at 510 SW 8th Ave. in Delray Beach.

Read more: “RNC ‘autopsy’ released: Plans for $10 million on minority outreach”


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