March 9, 2005: Headlines: COS - Dominican Republic: Politics: Congress: Hispanic Issues: Awards: Waterbury Republican American: The National Council of La Raza presented Chris Dodd with one of its annual Capital Awards at a dinner ceremony held in Washington's National Building Museum

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Hispanic Studies: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Hispanic Issues and Hispanic Studies : March 9, 2005: Headlines: COS - Dominican Republic: Politics: Congress: Hispanic Issues: Awards: Waterbury Republican American: The National Council of La Raza presented Chris Dodd with one of its annual Capital Awards at a dinner ceremony held in Washington's National Building Museum

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The National Council of La Raza presented Chris Dodd with one of its annual Capital Awards at a dinner ceremony held in Washington's National Building Museum

The National Council of La Raza presented Chris Dodd with one of its annual Capital Awards at a dinner ceremony held in Washington's National Building Museum

The National Council of La Raza presented Chris Dodd with one of its annual Capital Awards at a dinner ceremony held in Washington's National Building Museum

Hispanic group honors Dodd for Latino stance

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

By Rafe Bartholomew

Copyright © 2005 Republican-American

WASHINGTON -- Recognizing that Sen. Christopher Dodd's support of the Hispanic community means more than occasionally enjoying fried plantains, the nation's largest Hispanic advocacy group Tuesday honored the Connecticut Democrat for his longstanding support of pro-Latino issues.

The National Council of La Raza presented Dodd with one of its annual Capital Awards at a dinner ceremony held in Washington's National Building Museum.

The group chose Dodd for his work on behalf of education programs like Head Start, immigration reform and equal voting rights, all of which are vital to Hispanics, according to Janet Murguia, president of La Raza.

In a video played on an expansive plasma screen before Dodd's acceptance speech, senior officials in the group spoke of the senator's "natural" understanding of Latinos' interests, which they said he might have developed while serving with the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic.

"Sen. Dodd has the heart of a Latino," Murguia said.

"Dodd is unusual in the Senate in that he knows our community well," added Cecilia Munoz, La Raza's vice president of research. "He speaks the language and he's comfortable [with us]. He didn't just discover the Latino community. He's been there all along."

Sandra Ramirez, a Democrat on the Waterbury Board of Aldermen and a leader of the local Hispanic community, called Dodd's cultural awareness and bilingual abilities a "big, important factor" in his successful service to Connecticut's Spanish-speaking population.

Ramirez called Dodd "one of the most effective" legislators on Capitol Hill when it comes to issues that Hispanics care about. "We'd like to have a lot more (senators like Dodd) in there, but not right now," she added. "Maybe in the future."

The senator delivered an energetic speech -- peppered with Spanish phrases and an occasional one-liner -- that managed to draw audience members' attention away from their $350-a-plate dinners of Argentinean beef, stuffed prawns and saffron risotto cake.

"Bienvenidos todos," Dodd said to the crowd, then apologized for not wearing a tuxedo like many of the men among the roughly 600 attendees. He explained that he had come directly from debating a raise in the national minimum wage, and joked that formal attire would not help his image as a champion for the poor.

"When you're arguing on behalf of the minimum wage, it's a little hard to do it in black tie," Dodd said.

Dodd ended on a humble note, saying he wasn't sure he deserved an award for merely doing his job, but accepted it "as a challenge to do everything I can ÃÂ to try and make a difference for the Latino community."

The ensuing standing ovation provided a stark contrast with the crowd's quiet response to a more reserved speech delivered by U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.

Dodd, who voted against Gonzalez's confirmation last month and had called it "a disservice to the Latino, the Hispanic community" to view the nomination of Gonzalez as a "matter of ethnic pride," had nothing but kind words for the attorney general on this occasion.

He said Gonzalez, the first Hispanic to hold one of the top positions in the president's cabinet, was "certainly a source of community pride."

Gonzalez had some kind words for Dodd as well. Referring to Dodd and Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, the other honoree, Gonzalez told the crowd "they don't share our heritage, but they share our values."





When this story was posted in March 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

The Peace Corps Library Date: February 7 2005 No: 438 The Peace Corps Library
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March 1: National Day of Action Date: February 28 2005 No: 471 March 1: National Day of Action
Tuesday, March 1, is the NPCA's National Day of Action. Please call your Senators and ask them to support the President's proposed $27 Million budget increase for the Peace Corps for FY2006 and ask them to oppose the elimination of Perkins loans that benefit Peace Corps volunteers from low-income backgrounds. Follow this link for step-by-step information on how to make your calls. Then take our poll and leave feedback on how the calls went.
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Story Source: Waterbury Republican American

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Dominican Republic; Politics; Congress; Hispanic Issues; Awards

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