Notes from Breakfast with the Chairman

On a cloudy October Saturday, Latino leadership and immigrant business owners held a warm and friendly breakfast meeting with D.C. City Council Chairman, Vincent Gray. Numerous friends and past colleagues of the Council Chair were in the audience of about two dozen people who attended at EOFULA, the popular Spanish Senior Center on Calvert St. They heard a well prepared review of the main topics of concern as well as a reasoned account of the direction of the council and the city.

The atmosphere led to lively banter and good natured reminiscences as Mr. Gray has a long history of collaboration with the city’s Latino population. He studiously addressed the assessments of the 2006 Latino Agenda and recalled the November 2nd, 2006 assembly held at the Rosario School where he was a featured speaker.

Chairman Gray began by emphasizing the importance of the Mayor’s reforms to improve the public education system. He expressed his support for a universal pre-kindergarten program for all 3 & 4 year olds and urged the Latino community to prepare a candidate to compete in the election for Board of Education. (Lillian Perdomo expressed interest and the group overwhelmingly approved!).

He also covered affordable housing & small business issues reiterating his support for legislative measures designed to encourage greater competition in the city for both public and private contracts. He suggested we invite Allen Lew from D.C. Public Schools as our guest speaker to the next event.

Pedro Alfonso, Vice President of D.C. Hispanic Contractors Assoc., asked Chairman Gray about mounting tensions over immigration issues. In response, Mr. Gray handed out a Council resolution that addresses the issue.

Yvonne Rivera then asked if the Council would consider proclaiming D.C. a “sanctuary city”, at which point Ted Loza, from Councilman Graham’s office, intervened and pointed out that the just passed resolution is very close to that, among the most progressive in the country.

Contributions were offered to the Chair’s constituent fund and a pledge to continue the relationship. Thanks to EOFULA for providing the venue and the DCHCA Board for breakfast.

SOURCE: D.C. Hispanic Contractors Association (DCHCA)

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