Feature photo of State Sen. Mike Testa and Luz Vasquez courtesy of Luz Vasquez Facebook
BY CLYDE HUGHES | AC JosepH Media
VINELAND — Earlier this month, the New Jersey Republican Hispanic leaders gathered in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month at the Eastlyn Golf Course and The Greenville Inn.
About 100 people came together during the inaugural Republican National Hispanic Assembly of New Jersey Breakfast on Oct. 1.
The Hispanic community has long been a growing force in New Jersey, and those were shown even more prominently in the latest U.S. Census figures. According to a recent racial-ethnic diversity study by Stockton University, 16 of New Jersey’s 21 counties now have Latino populations of more than 10%.
Seven of those counties (Bergen, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Passaic, Union), have Hispanic populations of more than 20% with Atlantic County (19.6%) and Camden County (18.2%) just missing that mark.
In Cumberland County, where the breakfast was held, Hispanics make up 34% of the population, the second highest in the state. The event drew many of the top local Republican leaders, including Sen. Mike Testa, Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, and Cumberland County Commissioner Tony Romero, the first Latino ever elected to the board.
“The first Republican National Hispanic Assembly of NJ Breakfast in Cumberland County with Community Leaders was a success,” said organizer Luz Vasquez on Facebook. “I will honor my son (Chad Stuart) by working with my fellow leaders to make our community and state a better place to live.”
Stuart had died last month of senseless gun violence in South Jersey. The fight against rising crime has been one of the major themes of the Republican Party around the country.
Vasquez thanks Republican candidates, legislators and others for supporting the breakfast, including Rob Buono, Mari Romero, Ruth Michaud, Douglas Albrecht, Victoria Groetsch-Lods, Darwin Cooper, Jr., Dante Land, Kennith Gonzalez, Denise Gonzalez, Benjamin-Naomi Ocasio, Carlos Andujar, Maribel Rodriguez, Lisa Sanchez, Joe Sileo, William Gonzales, Victor M. Jimenez, Delores Genovese, Anthony Fanucci, Michael Cruz, Dennis Rivera, Kim Seidel Codispoti, Mariluz West, Neysha Parker, Armand Basualdo and Victor Bermudez.
“Rain didn’t stop the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of NJ from hosting our second outreach event this morning with nearly 100 local community leaders in Cumberland County,” said New Jersey State Republican official Kennith Gonzalez on social media. “The NJGOP’s message to the Hispanic community is being heard loud & clear throughout the state. Hispanic values are Republican values.”
Marci Romero, the wife of Tony Romero said the breakfast showed Republicans’ growing strength with Latinos.
“This breakfast event was awesome attending [and] special thanks to our leaders of the Hispanic community who have given support to our Republican party to be able to unite us and inform us of everything that happens in our community,” she said on Facebook.
“Once again, demonstrating that being all ONE we can make strength: [with] more information more power, more values and education, together we can do everything.”
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