La Plaza: Danny Vargas At The GOP Convention

Welcome to Alejandro Lazo's weekly blog-within-a-blog on the region's Latino business community; we're calling it "La Plaza."

By Alejandro Lazo

Raul "Danny" Vargas, chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly and a prominent businessman from Northern Virginia, felt his ears still ringing on day two of his party's St. Paul convention.

Vargas had attended a throbbing concert the night before by Puerto Rican Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee, who, in one unlikely cultural pairing, has endorsed Sen. John McCain for president.

But Vargas was obviously not in the Twin Cities just to get his groove on. The founder and president of Herndon-based marketing and communications consulting firm VARCom Solutions, has been busy getting the word out this year that John McCain is the right man for Hispanics, despite what some analysts have warned might be an unpopular year for Republicans among Hispanic voters after the contentious immigration battles of the last few years.

Danny Vargas, chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, stands at the podium during a walk through of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America.

La Plaza caught up with Vargas on his cellular phone to get his take on the convention and what McCain would mean for Hispanics and business. We talked about immigration first.

"The immigration reform over the last several years has had the name of John McCain on it, George Bush has been the one trying to push it as well," Vargas said. "Our candidate for president is the one, who, during the primaries was the one who had the courage to stand up and say no, we have got to treat our Hispanic brothers and sisters humanely: they are children of God. I think that is worth a lot when it comes down to it. I would put John McCain's credibility within the Hispanic community against anybody."

That law would have put many illegal immigrants on the path to citizenship. McCain has shifted right since then, telling critics he understood his party's opposition and would work to secure the nation's borders first.

The Republican party's platform this year calls for tougher enforcement of laws, including the ongoing crackdown on employers who hire illegal immigrants, punishment for "sanctuary cities" and completion of a fence along the U.S. border with Mexico.

How that message will play out with Hispanic voters remains to be seen, but Vargas said the entrepreneurial message of the Republican party is one that will resonate louder than the immigration issue.

"At the end of the day, Hispanics are entrepreneurial," Vargas said.

The ailing economy, health care, education and the war in Iraq are all top concerns for Hispanic voters this year, Vargas said.

The chairman has been staying at a Holiday Inn near the airport. He has spent his time giving interviews to Latin American journalists, Univision, ABC and, of course, La Plaza. Vargas was slated to speak on the third night of the convention, but was dropped from the programming when the Gulf Coast storm Gustav sent programmers scrambling to rearrange the week's schedule.

One of Vargas's applause lines from that speech was supposed to be this:

"The core values of the Hispanic community are family, faith freedom and opportunity. These are Republican values and the values of John McCain."

By Dan Beyers  |  September 4, 2008; 2:00 PM ET  | Category:  La Plaza
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Thank you for this article on Mr. Vargas and his activities during the Republican convention. He has built a solid reputation in Northern VA and brings up some very good points. It's good to see Hispanics getting involved.

Posted by: Jose D. | September 10, 2008 2:24 PM

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