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  Maldonado: GOP can’t just serve tacos and expect Latinos to sign up
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ContributorJason 
Last EditedJason  Mar 15, 2010 10:07pm
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News DateSaturday, March 13, 2010 10:50:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionState Sen. Abel Maldonado, the moderate Santa Maria Republican running for lieutenant governor, opened his speech to party convention delegates Saturday afternoon by acknowledging the discomfort many of them have with him for supporting new taxes, among other votes he has taken. When he walked into the room, he said, a delegate greeted him by saying, "Hey Abel, I think you're with the wrong party."

"And I looked at him, and I said, 'I'm not with the wrong party, I'm with the right party. Let me tell you why.' "

Maldonado, who spoke after the room had somewhat emptied following a speech by Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, retold an oft-told story about his father's journey from Mexico to the United States in 1963, penniless, and his success as a farmer thereafter. He used that tale to convey that Republicans need to better engage Latinos, saying their desire to get ahead is a more natural fit with the GOP, yet Latinos flock to the Democrats.

When his father arrived, he said, he picked a job line over a welfare line; had he picked welfare, he would have become a Democrat, Maldonado said, and he picked up the lesson. Maldonado recalled being asked by another Latino why he was a Republican. "You want to be poor?" he said he responded. "The other folks keep you poor."
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