This non-partisan group is designed to increase Latino political participation across the country. DeeDee Garcia Blase, President of the Tequila Party National movement, and Jorge Ortiz, a member of the Arizona Latino Republican Association and a Tea Party Supporter, discuss the new political movement.
José Cardenas: Based on the election results from last November, by now everyone across the country should be familiar with the tea party. But, now there is a new social movement in the political world, a nonpartisan group called the tequila party. And one of its goals is to increase the Latino voting bloc. Does it have enough momentum as a third party or movement? With me is Deedee Garcia Blasé, president of the tequila party national movement. Also here is Jorge Ortiz, a tea party supporter. Thank you for joining us on "Horizonte." Deedee, let's start with you, you're currently head of Somos Republicans. A Latino Republican group. How does that interface with what you were doing before?
DeeDee Garcia Blase: Basically, I can't run two organizations. Somos Republicans became the largest Hispanic Republican group in the nation and result as a result, I'm not final stages of choosing the next president and is that I can put my focus with the tequila party and be a true nonpartisan effort. So not only am I stepping down as president with Somos Republicans, I'm also changing my party affiliation from Republican to independent voter. I want to make an impact.
José Cardenas: I want to discuss that decision with you, but tell us about the tequila party.
DeeDee Garcia Blase: Well, the tequila party, our main mission is to go after the new coming of age voters. Every year, we have brand new voters, Latinos, who we need to get them to participate on the early ballot system as well as participate in the primary election voting system as well as the general election. You know, participating on general election day. In the past, we've done poorly in primary election voting and we want to change that. We want to be serious voters. That's our mission.
José Cardenas: Where do you think you'll succeed when so many haven't. The last election, anti-immigrant positions from the Republican party, would get out and vote and that didn't happen. Those didn't seem to work. Why do you think the tequila party will have a greater impact?
DeeDee Garcia Blase: Because 800,000 people have been deported in the last couple years. It's now a personal issue. Immigration is now the number one issue for the Latino population. For the entire Hispanic population. It's the number one issue. It's personal to us now. Either we know of a friend or know of a relative that's getting deported. So it's very personal and right now, there's fertile ground and we need to get involved.
José Cardenas: Jorge, as I understand it, you have no objections to a get out the vote effort, but do you think an effort based on the principles that Deedee is talking about is going to succeed?
Jorge Ortiz: I don't like the name. Tequila party, it's an affront to Latinos. She tries to say it's because of my age. It's not my age. It's the name. Tequila party. It's ridiculous. Getting out the vote for Latino, that's fine and good, if you're legal immigrant, legal Latino, you should have the right to vote and if you're not voting, you should vote. And if the young -- if the young voters aren't voting, we should help them vote but we shouldn't have to call it a tequila party. The Arizona Latino Republican association, our goal is to get out the Latino vote also, but we're not going to call it the tequila party. That's ridiculous.
DeeDee Garcia Blase: No offense, but he would be offended if we called it the TORTILLA or the frijole party. I don't see ULRA engaging themselves in the community-- I can reassure you, they would kick you out. You embrace anti-immigrant policies.
Jorge Ortiz: You're wrong.
DeeDee Garcia Blase:I want to see you where the immigration rallies are held, I swear, they'll kick you out.
Jorge Ortiz: We're a conservative Latino organization. We're for conservative values. If you're illegal, you're illegal.
DeeDee Garcia Blase: That's why they would kick you out.
José Cardenas: That's what I was getting at before when I was asking my question. While you support get out the vote effort, as Deedee indicated, a principle selling point, not necessarily a vote Republican or Democrat, but to vote will be a concern about anti-immigrant efforts. Do you think that's a appropriate basis to get people to go to the polls?
Jorge Ortiz: It's -- to me, if the Latinos are -- our goal should be to get the Latinos out to vote.
José Cardenas: You're not concerned whether they vote democrat or Republican?
Jorge Ortiz: No, you can be independent. But I believe in the conservative value of the Republican party and I will push that, because I believe in the conservative value of the Republican party. Latinos, that are Republican conservative Latinos, we're a very conservative Latino organization and we'll push that. If you want to vote independent, you're free to vote that.
DeeDee Garcia Blase: How can he be conservative when these tea party extremists --
Jorge Ortiz: They're not extremists.
DeeDee Garcia Blase:And hypocritical. The revenues we bring in are $2.1 trillion. We spend $3.7 million. We're in the deficit every single year it has to do with entitlement.
Jorge Ortiz: Yeah, the Obama entitlement.
DeeDee Garcia Blase: No, it's not, Medicare, social security.
José Cardenas: You're a tea party member, but at one time, you were a democrat and involved in the union movement. What happened?
Jorge Ortiz: I was raised as a democrat and I believed in the democratic party. But as time went by and I saw that all of the -- all it's about is entitlement and the union -- I was the president of the local union and I defended the rights of the workers, but it's gotten -- I mean, that was 30 years ago.
José Cardenas: It's not because of Obama that you've become a conservative Republican?
Jorge Ortiz: No, I believe the conservative principles of the Republican party.
José Cardenas: Let me ask this, because we're running out of time, I apologize. Deedee, you mentioned earlier that -- I don't know if that's your first public announcement that you're switching from --
DeeDee Garcia Blase: Why am I switching? It's obvious, anyone reasonable person in my shoes here in the state of Arizona where the climate is palpable. It's hate-filled. He supports people like Russell Pearce. Any reasonable person outside of the state can understand why I'm switching to independent party.
Jorge Oritz: There's nothing wrong with Joe Arpaio.
DeeDee Garcia Blase: Oh absolutely there is.
José Cardenas: On those notes of support by both of you in terms of who you're supporting or not, we'll have to end the interview. I promise we'll have you back to discuss this further. Thank you for joining us.
DeeDee Garcia Blase: Thank you.
José Cardenas: That's it for us tonight. For all of us here at "Horizonte," I'm José Cárdenas. Have a good evening.
DeeDee Garcia Blase:President, Tequila Party National movement;Jorge Ortiz:Aa member of the Arizona Latino Republican Association and a Tea Party Supporter;