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Governor: Immigration Just 1 Issue

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Gov. Susana Martinez said Wednesday that the GOP needs to engage the Hispanic community with a discussion of issues that goes beyond immigration.

The governor’s remarks came during a national conference call with reporters announcing the formation of the Republican State Leadership Committee’s expanded Future Majority Caucus. Martinez will serve as a co-chair of the group, designed to help recruit minority and female candidates to run for elected office on the state level. Nevada’s Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval is also serving as a co-chair of the group.

Martinez during the call was repeatedly asked about her thoughts on the national immigration debate, proposals in Congress backed by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, of Florida, to change national immigration policies, and how those issues will factor into recruiting candidates and ultimately winning a larger share of the Hispanic vote for Republicans in 2014.

“You always go back to immigration as though that’s the only issue the Hispanic voter or candidate cares about,” Martinez said. “We have many things that we care about. We care about our kids attending good schools. … We care about the ability to work and having work available to us.”

Martinez said the Republican Party also needs to make a better effort at recruiting candidates who “look like the communities they represent” and engage minority voters with a sincere discussion about issues.

“I think Hispanics, just like any other voter, can see through an insincere candidate who’s just spitting out the rhetoric, or when the tone is not being respectful,” she said.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Martinez was critical of Republican nominee Mitt Romney for remarks he made suggesting an immigration policy of “self-deportation” by making economic conditions tough on immigrants. Martinez also criticized the former Massachusetts governor for a statement that Republicans could not win 47 percent of voters who he said relied too heavily on government services.

“I feel strongly that if we get out into the communities and talk about the issues and we are careful about our tone and really listen, and not be constantly talking about what we think they want or need, but listen to them and their needs and how they better represent their communities, I think Republicans will do a much better job,” the governor said Wednesday.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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