Press statement: Ohio Latino Affairs Commission Recognized Senator George Voinovich with Community Champion Award
September 30, 2010 · Print This Article
Columbus, OH – The Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs presented Senator George V. Voinovich with the Latino Community Champion Award in appreciation for his efforts to improve the lives of Hispanic Ohioans. Several local and statewide Latino leaders joined the Commission to honor the retiring Senator’s esteemed career in public service.
Senator Voinovich will retire from the United States Senate after over 40 years in public service. He has a long-standing interest in promoting diversity and did so as Mayor of Cleveland, Governor of Ohio, and as a U.S. Senator. As Mayor, he instituted diversity training for Cleveland’s police ranks and created the first-ever Community Relations Committee and Latino Community Liaison position. As Governor, he created the “Governor’s Challenge in Diversity”, which encouraged Ohio cities to create and present their diversity plans at the state level. He opposed “English Only” legislation as Governor because he believed the bill did not support Ohio’s diversity and did not encourage immigrants to learn English while still embracing their native language. Most recently, he broke party ranks to vote for the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States – making her the first Hispanic woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
He has been a bi-partisan leader on comprehensive immigration reform in calling for a path to citizenship for immigrants, while also understanding the need for border and interior enforcement. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee and ranking member of the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Homeland Security, he has overseen investment in border security and an increase in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) capacity during his tenure. His comments today indicated that reform will confer a greater benefit to the U.S. than will additional border security. After addressing his recent vote on the Defense Authorization bill (which included the DREAM Act as an amendment) he commented that bills such as the DREAM Act and AG Jobs should be considered as part of comprehensive immigration reform.
One Latino leader said of Senator Voinovich, “He is a man of principle and integrity who has dedicated his life to making a better life for all Ohio citizens. He works with his political party, but when the issue is crucial for the well being of Ohioans, he does what he believes is the right thing to do – even if it means crossing party lines.”