June 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm
Building on the recent launch of its National Hispanic Steering Committee, Mitt Romney’s campaign Friday announced similar Hispanic leadership teams in 15 states, including Florida.
Romney’s National Hispanic Steering Committee, which was filled with a host of prominent Floridians–including former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio–came under some scrutiny for its lack of diversity. With the exception of Bush, all seven of the Floridians on Romney’s 21-member national committee are Cuban-Americans.
But for what his national committee lack in diversity, the members of his Florida Hispanic leadership team make up for in spades. They include a prominent Hispanic leader who signed an open letter to Romney during the GOP primary questioning his support of the Latino community, a business leader who made headlines for hosting a fundraiser for George W. Bush the same week she pled guilty to tax evasion and a RNC committeewoman from Puerto Rico. Perhaps she fell into the Florida team due to proximity?
While there are still plenty of Cuban-Americans with Miami ties on this Florida “Juntos con Romney” list, there are also folks who bring some geographical and political diversity. Sure, almost everyone has ties to Jeb Bush (even the gal from Puerto Rico), but three people also have ties to Charlie Crist– one person even after the governor-turned-senate-candidate “crossed over.” Two members supported Newt Gingrich in the Florida primary, while two others were organizers for George LeMieux, who dropped out of the Senate primary this week after a bitter battle with his Romney-backed rival, Connie Mack.
The Romney campaign did not provide bios of his Florida Hispanic team, but the release says the team will be “charged with making sure Hispanic voters know that they have an alternative come November.” So here’s what we can tell you about who will be delivering that message:
Nancy Acevedo is the chair of the National Republican Hispanic Alliance Florida. Acevedo joined with other Hispanic leaders across the country to send an open letter to Mitt Romney during the primary on why they could not support him. “We’ve come to our decision based on our belief that your support of the Hispanic community is not a clear representation of what we need,” Acevedo and her fellow co-signers wrote in the letter dated January 26, 2012. The letter, which has been taken off the Gingrich site, appears here.
Alex Acosta is a native of Miami, Florida. He served as a law clerk to Samuel Alito and was appointed United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida by President George W. Bush. Acosta is currently the dean of Florida International University College of Law.
Cesar Calvet is a businessman residing in the Orlando area. Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Calvet for a seat on the board that runs Orlando International Airport. Calvet is a big GOP donor, although records show he donated to Crist’s Democratic Senate bid.
Jorge L. Arrizurieta is the President of Arrizurieta and Associates and lives in the Miami area. In 2003, Gov. Jeb Bush named him chief executive of Florida Free Trade Area of the Americas Inc. (FTAA). Arrizurieta was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the United States Alternate Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank.
Bertica Cabrera Morris is on the board of trustees for Valencia College. She was a member of Jeb Bush’s finance committee and active in the Bush for President campaign where she served on the Florida finance committee. Cabrera Morris lives in Orlando and is a senior advisor for the Romney campaign.
Remedios Diaz-Oliver is the president of American International Containers. She made headlines for hosting a fundraiser for George W. Bush the same week she pled guilty to a tax evasion case. In 1999, she pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts in return for a prosecutors’ agreement to drop an 18-count felony indictment. She received three years probation.
Justina Gonzalez-Marti is the Orange County chair for the Romney campaign, and an active leader in the Hispanic professional and cultural community. She has served in various leadership roles in local Hispanic coalitions for the campaigns of Pres. George W. Bush, Gov. Jeb Bush, and Gov. Charlie Crist.
Luis Hernandez is an Orlando talk radio host and Republican political consultant.
Alci Maldonado is chair of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly and a Lakeland resident. She served as Hispanic Coalition Chair with the Bush-Cheney 2000 and 2004 campaigns and with Gov. Jeb Bush’s 1998 and 2002 campaigns. Maldonado also managed the Polk County campaign of former Gov. Charlie Crist.
Jesse Manzano-Plaza is a former Jeb Bush aide from South Florida. He is a US Army Veteran and member of one-time Senate candidate George LeMieux’s “Miami-Dade County Victory Team.”
Carlos Rey is a member of the Leon County Republican Executive Committee. He was director of Miami Dade Legal Response Team Bush/Cheney 2004, Newt Gingrich ‘s co-chair for Leon County and a county-level grassroots coordinator for Lemieux’ Senate campaign.
Zoraida Fonalledas is Republican National Committeewoman for Puerto Rico. In 1994, she co-chaired the event “Jeb Bush for Governor of Florida” in Puerto Rico. In 1999, she co-chaired the Puerto Rico Committee for “George Bush for President.”
Tags | Alex Acosta, Bertica Cabrera Morris, Carlos Rey, Cesar Calvet, Charlie Crist, jeb bush, Jesse Manzano-Plaza, Jorge L. Arrizurieta, Mitt Romney, Nancy Acevedo, National Hispanic Steering Committee, Remedios Diaz-Oliver, Zoraida Fonalledas