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Panel of Hispanics for Obama announced

Though a recent poll found that Hispanic voters in Nevada and five mountain West states favor Barack Obama over John McCain by a more than 2-to-1 margin, Latino organizers for Obama in Nevada are taking nothing for granted.

A new Latino Leadership Advisory Committee was announced Tuesday at an Obama Campaign for Change office in North Las Vegas.

“We want them to keep us abreast of what Hispanics are thinking, and we also want them to make sure we get out the vote,” said Bryan Pacheco, a regional field director for the Democratic presidential nominee.

The 50 members of the advisory committee include Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, Culinary Local 226 President Geoconda Arguello Kline, State Sen. Bob Coffin and Assemblyman Mo Denis. The committee will have regular meetings and share campaign strategies, Pacheco said.

In her remarks to about 20 members of the committee, Kline indicated that the issues that will best resonate with undecided Hispanic voters are the economy and health care.

“People are working hard and still losing their homes,” she said. “It’s not right. People get sick … and run up debts and they’re losing their homes. It’s not right … We must have a change.”

Though many committee members, most notably Cortez Masto, were not on hand, Pacheco said there is no doubt that the Nevada Hispanic leadership — which had been tilted toward Sen. Hillary Clinton — was now solidly behind Obama.

“We are unified,” he said, standing about 20 feet from a sign that featured a quote from Clinton: “Barack Obama is my candidate and he must win. We don’t have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.”

A big supporter of Clinton in the primary, Edmundo Escobedo Sr., the publisher of El Mundo newspaper, said he has become an admirer of Obama because “he outworked and outorganized Senator Clinton.”

That kind of energy, the committee member said, can make positive change happen.

There is no question that Hispanic voters had favored Clinton over Obama.

A Pew Hispanic Center poll released in December showed that Clinton led among Hispanic Democrats with 59 percent, compared with 15 percent for Obama.

“On the issue that matter most to Hispanics — the economy — Latinos recognize that Obama can give them something far better than they’ve had for the last eight years,” Pacheco said. “We just have to make sure everyone votes. This committee can help make that happen.”

Contact reporter Paul Harasim at pharasim@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2908.

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