LAS VEGAS, Aug. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a leading advocate in Congress for immigration reform and Latino communities, will address the UNITY '12 Convention in Las Vegas Saturday on behalf of President Obama's campaign for reelection.
The convention's Candidates' Forum featuring "A Conversation with Rep. Luis Gutierrez" is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, August 4, at the Mandalay Ballroom IJ in the Mandalay Bay South Convention Center in Las Vegas.
After some brief opening remarks, Gutierrez will be interviewed by veteran journalist Willie Lora, news and political director of CNN en Espanol. The forum, sponsored by Time Warner, will be streamed live online and the audience in and outside of the room will be able to submit questions via Twitter, #UNITY12elect.
"I am honored to represent President Barack Obama before the nation's most diverse journalism organization. The President and I believe we prosper when we recognize that diversity is a singular strength of America and that as a nation we are all in it together and stand strongest when we stand united. We are on the verge of a key turning point as young immigrants eligible for the DREAM Act begin coming forward in two weeks for temporary protection from deportation under deferred action. While the Congress just adjourned debating English-only laws and delaying tax-cuts or any serious help to the economy, the Democrats and the President are committed to strengthening our economy, helping middle class and working class families make it, and building an economy that's built to last. The gathering in Nevada of Asian American, Native American, LGBT and Latino journalists just underscores the fact that everyone, no matter where you come from, has the opportunity to succeed and contribute to our democracy" said Representative Luis Gutierrez.
The candidates' forum at UNITY '12, the most diverse journalism convention in the United States, is an opportunity for the presidential candidates to address the 2,300 journalists, media executives, and community members gathering in Las Vegas this week.
"We are pleased that the Obama campaign will be answering questions from such a diverse group of journalists from all across the country as we enter the height of this year's presidential campaign," said Onica Makwakwa, executive director of UNITY Journalists, based in McLean, Virginia.
Makwakwa said that repeated invitations were made to both the Obama for America campaign and the Mitt Romney for America campaign for their respective presidential candidates to attend.
The Romney campaign declined the invitation and offered no surrogate. Obama campaign officials said the President was not available and tapped Rep. Gutierrez to represent him before the convention of journalists.
In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama addressed the Unity convention in Chicago. Sen. John McCain declined repeated invitations to attend. At the 2004 Unity convention in Washington, D.C., both President George W. Bush and presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry addressed the gathering of journalists.
Now in his tenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Gutierrez is the Democratic Party's leading strategist and spokesperson on immigration issues. He is chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force and had previously served as Chair of the Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force.
Among his extensive congressional work, Gutierrez was at the forefront to achieve comprehensive immigration reform and to pass the DREAM Act in 2010, which would offer a work permit and a path to citizenship to certain undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and who are now college students or recent graduates.
He has been a critic of the government's deportation of immigrants that has resulted in breaking families apart in many regions of the country. Immigration reform is just one of several key topics debated by both presidential candidates on the campaign trail. In a free-flowing conversation format, journalists are expected to inquire about many of these issues at Saturday's Candidates' Forum.
UNITY '12 is a quadrennial gathering of the journalists and diversity advocates who comprise the member alliance organizations – the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Native American Journalists Association, and its newest member, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About UNITY: Journalists of Color
UNITY Journalists, an alliance of four journalism organizations representing more than 4,000 journalists, is the nation's most diverse journalism organization. It is a strategic alliance advocating fair and accurate news coverage about people of color and LGBT issues and aggressively challenges news organizations to increase diversity in whom they employ at all levels of their companies.
Jeneene Butler, Special Projects Assistant
UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc.
Tel: (703) 854-3591
SOURCE UNITY: Journalists of Color