Featured in Refinery29’s – “8 Inspiring Human Beings On How To Make the Next 4 Years Matter.”

Don’t Forget, Ivanka Is One Of Us, Too

Our nation is holding its collective breath as we enter Inauguration Day. Those who voted for Donald J. Trump are holding their breath with eager anticipation, built up over years of waiting for a total outsider who is willing and able to totally disrupt the Washington, D.C. system. Non-Trump voters are holding their breath for essentially the same reason: We are stepping into the unknown. There is no political blueprint for what comes next. But as I watch President-elect Trump officially become our next President, I’m optimistic. Why? One reason: his daughter, Ivanka Trump.

As someone who has worked in politics my entire adult life, I understand the unique and powerful opportunities available in the White House. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that provides unparalleled prospects to address some of the nation’s — and the world’s — greatest challenges. It would be a missed opportunity for Ivanka, even as an unofficial member of her father’s administration, to pass up such a game-changing opportunity for involvement.

And while I know people are divided about the role Ivanka Trump will play these next four years, instead of focusing energy on what she will or won’t, should or should not be doing with this time, consider asking yourself and the women around you: How will we spend our time to make the United States a better country under the incoming administration?

Ivanka is taking responsibility for the role that she’ll play — we should all take a line out of that book and put our actions to work for our values in real life. She is poised to become a powerful leader in our nation’s capital — and that is a very positive thing. Having a woman like her — an accomplished millennial, a successful businesswoman, and a young mom — as a voice in the White House is a major plus, for this or any presidential administration.

A common theme throughout this past election (and sadly for generations) is that women, particularly young women, have been underrepresented in government at virtually all levels. We need to encourage more people like Ivanka — new faces — who can offer different perspectives to serve our nation. I have followed her “Women Who Work” efforts for some time, and she is passionate about many of the same issues I am passionate about — including femaleempowerment, paid family leave, female entrepreneurship, equal pay, and helping working moms.

But a person — a woman — could spend a lifetime writing blog posts and speaking at conferences, and still not have the impact on women empowerment issues that a few years at the White House could provide. Many people spend their entire lives trying to enact change. Now Ivanka will have the power to be that change. Her priorities can already be felt at the White House and on Capitol Hill: Donald Trump has begun talking to legislators about family leave and child care proposals — issues that would not likely have been high on the list if Ivanka were not advising the president-elect; issues that for far too long have not received attention from our nation’s leaders.

Ivanka’s influence is also helping shape the people advising the White House: Dina Powell, a well-respected leader in women’s empowerment in the workplace, will serve as assistant to the president and senior counselor for economic initiatives. Dubbed “Ivanka’s woman in the White House,” Powell — an Egyptian-born, Dallas-raised, Arabic speaker — has received bipartisan praise for her work thus far and is set to be a powerful figure in the new administration.

During the election I had my own concerns about Trump’s candidacy, and wrote about them from my perspective as a Republican strategist, a Latina, and a mom. But one thing I made clear is that whoever won the election, we must accept the results and the electoral process. Trump won by the same rules applied to every presidential election in America’s history.

I worked for the presidential campaigns of Senator John McCain and Governor Mitt Romney against Barack Obama, but goodness knows that when President Obama won, I prayed for his success. When I disagreed with him, I made it known. But he was my president.

As of January 20, Donald Trump is the president leading all of us. Now, my only concern is how I can support my country and its new leader. Personally, I am hopeful his daughter’s presence will help bring some of the issues that often get swept aside into the light. If Ivanka Trump can do some good in Washington for women everywhere, then we should be championing her presence there, while also working to do the same in our own communities. Women of America — if not us, then who? And if not now, then when?

Bettina Inclán is a political strategist and writer who specializes in women’s issues and outreach.

Republican groups are gearing up efforts to advocate for immigration reform rolling out a national media campaign. Today, the Hispanic Leadership Network (HLN) announced a six-figure national ad buy in English and Spanish featuring HLN Co-Chair former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. The ad is part of a new campaign “Be Part of the Solution,” geared to encourage passage of bipartisan immigration reform. Watch the ad below.

In the ad, Secretary Gutierrez states, “America’s the only place where a little boy who couldn’t speak English can grow up to be a CEO and U.S. secretary of Commerce… Washington must pass immigration reform that grows the economy and respects the rule of law.”

Gutierrez was born in Cuba. When he was six, he and his family fled to Mexico from Communist Cuba. When he was 22 he joined the Kellogg company in Mexico and worked himself up the ranks. In January 1999, Gutierrez was elected to the Kellogg’s Board of Directors and by April of 1999, he was appointed president and CEO. Carlos Gutierrez took the helm at Kellogg becoming the company’s youngest CEO in nearly 100- year history. He also became the only Latino CEO of a Fortune 500 company. In 2004, Fortune Magazine dubbed Gutierrez as “The Man Who Fixed Kellogg” turning around the company’s finances. He went on to become Secretary of Commerce under the Bush Administration.

Read the full press release form HLN after the jump.

Power Play is live from the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C.

Talking to activist and conservative leaders from across the country, Alicia and I are excited about all the great interviews we did on CPAC’s Radio Row. Among some of our fascinating guests:

ACU Chairman Al Cardenas – Our newest LUCHADOR, Chairman Cardenas talks about his journey from a kid from Cuba to leader of the conservative movement.

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) – The Congresswoman talks about women in politics, the role of women in the conservative movement and the changing demographics of California.

David Bossie, President, Citizens United – Gives us the behind the scenes story of the famous case, Citizens United v. FEC, which opened the door for Super PACs in 2012 and changed American politics forever.

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform – talks taxes, CPAC, the direction of the conservative movement, 2012 politics and update on the current Capitol Hill debate.

Javier Manjarres, Editor, Shark-Tank.net – Last years Blogger of the Year, El Sharko himself, gives us his take on the presidential race, Florida politics and his own winner and losers.

Laura Ramirez Drain, President, Hispanic Vote – The newest Super PAC, Hispanic Vote, kicks off operations at CPAC. Laura tells us more about the direction of the organization and goals it this super political season.

Sam Rosado, Contributor, Misfit Politics – The New Jersey native and blogger gives us his take on CPAC.

I’m proud to announce I have joined the Republican National Committee as their Director of Hispanic Outreach.

In a conference call earlier today, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus mapped out the GOP’s expanded Latino inclusion efforts which will include a strong community engagement focus, working directly with local Latino leaders to spread the Republican message,  and an effective GOTV effort to connect with Hispanic voters.  Special focus will be placed on key battleground states like Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, North Carolina and Nevada with large Hispanic populations. The program includes a strong bilingual communications push and a social media presence. The Chairman explained that in my new capacity, I’ll be working closely with RNC staff on the ground to ensure they are successfully involving the Latino community at all levels of the Party.

Read the press release below and some news articles. (For ESPAÑOL). If you missed the conference call announcing the enhanced Latino strategy,  listen to the the full audio here and read the highlights here.

RNC Hispanic Outreach to Capitalize on Obama’s Failed Leadership

WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus has announced the next phase of the RNC’s national Latino engagement effort:

“The expanded multifaceted approach to connect with the Hispanic community will include both digital outreach, traditional voter identification, and get out the vote efforts,” said RNC Chairman Priebus. “Aimed at connecting with the fastest growing demographic, the RNC will place staff on the ground across the country to coordinate the GOP’s Hispanic effort as part of a program to make sure Barack Obama is a one-term president. Latinos play an integral role in our communities and the Republican Party believes it is essential to involve Latinos at every level of our Party’s efforts in 2012.”

To organize the national effort and oversee state-level staff working with local Latino communities, the RNC has named Bettina Inclán as the Director of Hispanic Outreach. Bettina is the former Executive Director of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly and has served on numerous campaigns at the national, state and local level. Most recently, Bettina worked on statewide campaigns in both California and Florida. She was part of the team that elected Rick Scott Governor of Florida, who secured over 50 percent of the Hispanic vote in his successful run in 2010.

To kick-off the effort, the RNC has launched a Twitter account @RNCLatinos and a Tumblr blog at RNCLatinos.tumblr.com. The social media sites will include the latest bilingual content, research and videos from the RNC and provide an opportunity for the community to share their thoughts. The Twitter account and Tumblr blog will join the existing bilingual website for Latinos.

“With the unemployment rate for the Latino community at eleven percent, over two points higher than the national average, Latinos across the country are frustrated with Obama’s failed economic policies. Their dissatisfaction with the president creates an opening for the Republican Party’s message of economic security and conservative values to resonate with Latinos,” said RNC Co-Chairman Sharon Day.

A mobile text campaign has also been launched asking Latino voters to text “ÚNETE” (Unite) to 91919 (Data & Msg rates may apply) and join the RNC’s mobile army.

As the 2012 election cycle continues, the RNC will unfold additional pieces of its Hispanic outreach program.

Some news clips from around the country:

Miami Herald: RNC announces new Hispanic outreach director, Bettina Inclan

…“This election is going to be about the economy, about jobs,” she said. As for the candidates, she said, “they’ll be engaging directly with the Latino community. I’m positive they’ll be excited.”

Republicans praised the choice. So did Democrat Florida Democrat Kyra Jennings, who said on Twitter: “Congrats to @BettinaInclan – and us Dems should take note! RT @MarcACaputo Bettina Inclan named as RNC’s director of Latino outreach.”

The Hill: GOP Makes Play For Hispanic Support

Orlando Sentinel: RNC announces more Hispanic outreach

Roll Call: RNC Names Hispanic Outreach Director

AP: Republicans to expand Latino outreach

Univision: Republicans unveil Latino outreach plans

Fox News Latino: The Race for the Latino Vote Kicks Into High Gear in Florida

Washington Post:  The Fix

A new poll by Latino Decisions shows that about half of Latino voters are still undecided on who to vote for President and are not excited about the upcoming 2012 election. The data is bad news for President Obama who needs a super majority of Latino support, about 75%, to secure a second term in the White House.

The new poll examined a variety of topics including likely voter turnout and important policy issue facing Latinos, economy and jobs still remain at the top of that list. Latino Decisions poll also asked about the role of religion in Latino political attitudes, the impact of Marco Rubio on a presidential ticket and the efforts of both political parties in engaging Hispanic voters.

While the ever changing Republican primary has generated a lot of media attention, it has done little to excite the average Hispanic voter about the Presidential election. Only 44% of Latino voters said they are very enthusiastic about participating in next year’s U.S. presidential election, compared with 47% in October and 50% in August.

When examining Latino attitudes towards the GOP and the Republican Party it is clear that there is much work to be done. About 20% of Latino respondents said they are certain or are considering voting for a Republican candidate. Half of Latinos feel the Republican Party  is doing a poor job in connecting with Hispanics. This can be turned into an opportunities for Republican candidates to connect and motivate Hispanic voters who aren’t currently engaged in the political debate. A recent Univision poll found that a majority of Latino voters still were not familiar with the Republican presidential field.

A rare topic that was examined by the Latino Decisions poll was religion and politics from the perspective of Latino voters. It found that while Latinos are somewhat more religious as compared to non-Latinos, their religious beliefs are far less relevant to their political attitudes. 53% of respondents said that religion had no impact on their vote and about 55% of Latinos don’t care about a candidate’s religion. When asked about Mormonism,  less than 1/3 of Latinos know that Mormonism is a form of Christianity – a question that was clearly aimed at understanding Latino attitudes towards Republican Mitt Romney.

Read the full report and see the slide deck on the poll at Latino Decisions: “Latinos not very enthusiastic about the 2012 election

“…The impreMedia/Latino Decisions poll began measuring the election preferences of Latino voters in February of this year. It has been measuring their enthusiasm for voting in next year’s presidential election and their potential support for President Obama and a Republican rival. In six separate polls, Latino voters’ tendency to identify with the Democrats and President Obama’s approval rating among the majority of Latinos—except for Latino Republicans—have fluctuated somewhat, but have generally remained above 60%. Nevertheless, the voting intentions and enthusiasm of Latinos, which are crucial for Barack Obama’s re-election in states such as Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and even Arizona, which is now said to be up for grabs, are not as positive for the president as could be expected. “On the Democratic side, there’s no competition or much discussion. In 2008, as we remember, there was a lot of enthusiasm around the race, particularly between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama,” said Barreto….”

Telemundo will host its first-ever Republican presidential debate in Nevada this December. The Spanish-language network will broadcast the debate in prime time from Las Vegas. Telemundo news anchor José Díaz-Balart will host the debate, which will focus on a variety of topics, including the economy, health, immigration and education policies.

According to a press release from Telemundo, “the network has invited the Republican Presidential candidates to establish a direct dialogue with the Hispanic community and address the issues that matter to them at a critical time in our country.”

The battle-ground state of Nevada, one of the first states to vote in the Republican primary season, has a large Latino population. (Pew Hispanic Center Nevada Profile)

Politico’s “On The Media” blog reported the news of the debate:

“…Telemundo is pitching the debate as an open dialogue between the Latino community and Republican candidates. The state’s population is about 27 percent Latino. The economy will likely be a focal topic as well, with Nevada’s unemployment rate the highest in the nation, topping 13 percent.

Attempting to live blog the Hispanic Leadership Network Conference in New Mexico via my iPhone. (Please excuse any typos.) Also, I will be tweeting at @BettinaInclan. Follow the conversation at #HLNNM and via the Hispanic Leadership Network’s official twitter account @HispanicLN

(9:15 am)
Rosario Marin, former U.S. Treasurer, kick off conference and welcomes large crowd to New Mexico. Introduces HLN’s Executive Director, Jenny Korn.

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(9:30 am) Senator Norm Coleman of the American Action Network takes the stage and explains the purpose of HLN and hope for the organization:

“Hispanics are not just part of the American dream they are the American Dream.”

Coleman discussed shared principles between conservatives and Hispanics including commitment to faith, family and country. He also highlights economic principles, “We support low taxes because we believe you should decide how to spend your money not the government.”

“We must be more than just words,” says Senator Coleman, as he talks about the need to have a real longterm strategy to connect with Latinos. He continues to say we need to have more than just conferences, speeches and occasional newsletters. He promised a new strategy from the Hispanic Leadership Network to truly engage Hispanics nationwide.

(9:40ish am)
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush address crowd via video.

(9:44 am)
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal takes the stage. Says he is happy to be back in New Mexico as he was last here to help Susana Martinez become Governor. VIDEO: http://livestre.am/136cl

Jindal makes a great speech of the lessons he has learned from his parents. Big laughs from the crowd as the Governor tells stories of his immigrant parents adapting to living in America after immigrating to Louisiana from India. His parents told him every day “You are so lucky to be an American.”

His dad was laser focused on making sure Bobby Jindal got a good education. Jindal’s dad would say “I might not leave you an inheritance, or a great name, but I’ll make sure you have a great education.” This inspired Jindal to improve education in Louisiana and focus on how students are doing not how much money is spent per pupil. He highlights the possibilities of charter schools and the importance of school choice. Full video: http://livestre.am/136cl

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Governor Bobby Jindal, Jenny Korn and Senator Norm Coleman