On two different days at a national Latino conference in Orlando last week, president Obama and Mitt Romney squared off on the contentious topic of immigration. In the audience: two Miami Beach city commissioners.
For Michael Gongora, this was his second National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference, a “great opportunity” to meet and network with his fellow colleagues at all levels of government from throughout the U.S. Gongora and fellow commissioner Jorge Exposito represented Miami Beach at the 29th annual, non-partisan conference, which also heard from former Fla. governor Jeb Bush and the state’s two U.S. senators, Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.
Gongora reports that federal immigration reform was an oft-mentioned topic on the lips of many attendees. Obama sharpened the debate days before the conference began when he announced a new administration policy curbing the deportation of illegal immigrant children, a major tenet of his proposed DREAM Act.
Education, health, environmental issues, and financial empowerment were the subjects of workshops and sessions Gongora attended during the three-day confab. He told the SunPost this week that he wants his city to consider adopting some of the practices and methods that speakers and delegates shared in Orlando.
“In particular, different energy source alternatives are being looked into throughout the country which might work in our community,” said Gongora, who earlier in June convinced the City Commission to adopt his pet legislation to mandate recycling programs in businesses, condos, and other multi-unit dwellings citywide.
The NALEO conference, which Gongora credited as an “enlightening and informative” one that enabled him to “sharpen my leadership skills,” will be held next year in Chicago. He plans to attend.