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HELO leaders meet with NALEO officials: Gore, Cisneros address meeting.

An opportunity to find common solutions for mutual issues that impact the communities they represent across the nation, brought together members of the Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO) and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) recently.

"This is the first opportunity we have had in several years to come together and exchange ideas as two national organizations," said HELO President Tom Morales, councilmember of Avondale, Ariz. Councilmember Morales convened the meeting of HELO leaders and NALEO officials during NALEO's annual conference in Austin.

"It is very important that our NLC HELO members have the opportunity to network with Latino officials at the state and local levels so that we can improve our programs and strengthen local government services in our communities around the country."

The NALEO conference focused on a number of important issues of the day including the subjects of immigration policy, affirmative action, U.S.-Mexico relations, fiscal conditions in communities, and Congress' legislative agenda.


Vice President Al Gore took the opportunity to meet with members of the NALEO Board of Directors which includes President Morales. NALEO has recently set aside a position on its board for the current HELO president. Gore addressed NALEO conferees by remarking, "There is no issue more important than immigration and we must appreciate the importance of the contributions of Hispanic Americans to this nation."

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, former mayor of San Antonio, spoke to participants and urged them to take stock of and appreciate the legacy of the myriad of contributions by Hispanics in the U.S.

The conference opened with a plenary session held as an Ambassador's Forum which highlighted the significance of current U.S.-Mexico relations. Ambassador Jesus Silva-Herzog of Mexico remarked that "There is more understanding and more cordiality between our two countries. It is important to understand and know what has happened in the last decade in our country and that we have made tremendous and profound changes in its structure."

"I believe our bilateral relationship is the strongest it has ever been today ... it is mature, and we have been involved in many cooperative efforts," said U.S. Ambassador James Jones.

Angel Gurria, secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, said Mexico and the United States are inextricably linked. We share the common challenge to turn this inexorable geographic condition into a renewed source of opportunities and a guarantee for regional peace so that it becomes a key factor for prosperity and understanding between our two countries."

HELO took the opportunity to host a board meeting for its Board of Directors and general members as a part of the overall NALEO conference. A top priority for HELO is the appointment of new board officers for the remainder of this year. Along with Morales, Alicia Sanchez, cuncilmember, Port Huron, Mich., now serves as HELO's First Vice President, and Richard Alarcon, cuncilmember, Los Angeles, Calif. has been appointed by the board to become HELO's Second Vice President.

The board members moved forward on strategies to increase HELO's membership and begin plans for HELO's activities at NLC's 1995 Congress of Cities in Phoenix -- Nov. 29 -- Dec. 2. Along with these topics, HELO is concerned with the subjects of immigration policy and its affects on the Hispanic community, and affirmative action and its implications for Hispanic Americans and other diverse groups.

For more information about HELO (202) 626-3169.
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Title Annotation:Hispanic Elected Local Officials, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials; Vice President Albert Gore, Jr., Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros
Author:Gordon, Mary France
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Jul 10, 1995
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