ELGIN - On Saturday the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Illinos (RNHA IL) met for its 2013 convention in Elgin to determine how to better engage Illinois' Hispanics. Joined by approximately 75 fellow Hispanic activists, the convention kicked off with a breakfast hosted by Jack Roeser, who is Editor-in-Chief of the new conservative newspaper El Sueno Americano (The American Dream). Well known for offering English as a second language to his employees as well as renovating foreclosed homes and selling them at cost to Hispanics within his community, Roeser emphasized the importance of the Hispanic community to the future of conservatism in Illinois.
Following the breakfast, a new slate of RNHA IL officers was elected, which included John Guevara as Chairman, Li Arellano as Vice Chairman, Gloria Cudia Cardenas as Secretary, Ben Ordonez as Treasurer, Gloria Campos as National Committeewoman, and Rafael Rivadeneira as National Committeeman.
Above: 2013 RNHA IL officers Gloria Pereira de Campos, Benjamin Ordoñez, John M. Guevara, Liandro Arellano Jr, Gloria Cardenas Cudia and Rafael Rivadeneira
The new Chairman John Guevara said that his goal would be to get at least one Hispanic candidate on the Republican ballot in each Illinois county, and to expand the group's county chapters.
While the Illinois Republican Party was not officially represented to Saturday's convention, several Republican elected officials visited with the RNHA delegates, including state representatives Darlene Senger, Tom Dremmer, and Jeanne Ives, as well as Tom Morrison and John Cabello, who are part of the RNHA IL's advisory council along with State Senator Sue Rezin and House member Pam Roth.
State Senator Kirk Dillard sent a message saying: "Congratulations to the IL chapter of the RNHA on your 2013 convention. I'm sorry I can't be with you today to share in your success. I enjoyed speaking to you last summer and look forward to working with you as we march Republicans to victory in 2014. God bless you and God bless the great state of Ilinois."
But the RNHA is not without controversy. A feud between the RNHA group that met Saturday and another than claims the endorsement of the national Republican Hispanic National Assembly continues to boil. The competing RNHA group is headed by Steve Orlando, who filed an injunction last week to stop Saturday's convention. However Orlando's attorney Christine Svenson withdrew demands to shut down yesterday's meeting, but proceeded in a complaint against the group using the trademark name without permission from national officials.
Orlando announced Friday that his state group would be holding a conference in March, featuring George P. Bush, former Governor Jeb Bush's son and a number of IL GOP political figures.
The RNHA IL group that met Saturday were focused on reaching out to Latinos in Illinois, and seemed undaunted by the ongoing feud.