The delegates to the most widely attended convention in our organization’s 87-year history took this bold step because many of them have seen first-hand the devastating consequences that can come from lax environmental protections. Our members know all too well that under-represented communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the adverse effects of harmful pollution.
LULAC members from across the country have witnessed Grijalva, in his ‘roll-up-your-sleeves,’ hands-on approach to combating harmful, anti-environmental policies. Many have worked directly with him over his 40 years of public service. The enthusiastic support for Grijalva came through loud and clear during the cheers and chants for “Raul” as the resolution received a unanimous vote last weekend.
In politics, as in life, decisions have consequences. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Grijalva’s opponent for the post as Ranking Member, made a decision to support that awful bill in the 109th Congress, that sparked such a turbulent moment for Latinos across this nation. It is the view of my organization’s members that there must be a consequence for that vote. That is why, on behalf of the 20,000 LULAC members around the country, I am compelled to ask that DeFazio do the right thing for his party, and for the House of Representatives, and cede the Ranking Member post to Grijalva by stepping aside.
Wilkes is national executive director for LULAC.