PHOENIX -- Arizona has taken center stage on many national issues such as immigration, housing, jobs and education. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) says these are issues that impact Latino communities throughout the country. The group has decided to use the state as the backdrop to address these issues.
The NCLR was founded in Arizona. Latino community leaders and legislators from across the country gathered in Phoenix in 1968 to address the issues impacting Latinos.
This weekend, the group's executive board is meeting in Phoenix to review their strategic plans for 2012. Their top priority is galvanizing Latino voters.
NCLR’s CEO Janet Murguía says both political parties need to begin to value the Latino vote.
"They do take the Latino community for granted, assuming that we have not other alternatives," Murguía said. "They may be right but it’s not a smart strategy they should continue to seek to nurture and engage the Latino community because we will be an even more important part of the electorate."
The CEO says one immediate concern is the potential loss of the low income tax credit being discussed in Congress. She says that would hurt a large number of low income Latino families.
While in the state, the organization also called for the resignation of controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is under investigation by the Department of Justice and accused of violating the civil rights of Latinos.