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Las Vegas Latinos Targeted By White House

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Las Vegas Latinos Targeted By White House

Las Vegas Latinos Targeted By White House

LAS VEGAS -- With an eye toward the 2012 elections, the White House is reaching out to Latinos.

On the heels of President Obama's online round table on Hispanic issues, officials from his administration will meet with Latino community members in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The day-long meeting will be the second regional White House Hispanic Community Action Summit.

"As the president has said many times, the future of the United States is inextricably linked to the future of the Latino community," said Juan Sepúlveda, Executive Director of White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, who will help lead the summit.

Sepúlveda noted Latinos are not only the fastest growing minority group, but also the country's largest.

Hispanic support is also seen as critical to Obama's re-election in 2012, and recent polls suggest their support for the president is waning. Nevertheless, organizers describe the upcoming summit in Las Vegas as a White House policy initiative - not a campaign event.

The summit is open to anyone who registers, though space is limited.

Photo courtesy The White House.

Judy Canales, Rural Business Administration and Ramona Romero, General Counsel, U.S. Department of Agriculture, discuss the department’s agenda and the Hispanic community. The meeting took place during the first-ever White House Hispanic Policy Conference.

It will take place at the East Las Vegas Community Center. Senior staff from a number of agencies are scheduled to attend, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture and the White House Office of Public Engagement.

According to organizers, the meeting will be a chance for Latino community members to engage with officials, share ideas, express concerns and come up with action plans.

"The community leaders are going to be there kind of side-by-side with officials from the different agencies to create the agenda together," Sepúlveda said.

The Las Vegas meeting follows the first regional Hispanic Community Action Summit in Orlando in mid-September. The White House also hosted a national conference on Hispanic issues in Washington, D.C. in July.

Similar summits are expected in other southwestern cities in the coming months.

Jude Joffe-Block was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2010 to 2017.