CD-8 candidates weigh in on a study of Latinas

According to a new report by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, pay below the national average persists among the majority of Latina women.

Even those who are making it, like President of QuikHelp Tannya Gaxiola, know many other Latino women are still struggling to catch up in the workplace in terms of pay.

The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted a mixer for the Congressional District 8 candidates Thursday evening.

The 2010 census data shows Arizona's a third Latino. The next person in this office will represent many of their needs.

Tonight four of the CD-8 candidates spoke to members of the business community including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The focus here was who the candidates are and some of the main things they stand for.

But this study by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement says Latina women earn 40 percent less than white men on average.

The study also says Hispanic men also tend to earn less.

The study cited more than half of Latinas have a middle school education or lower and are likely to not know their labor rights.

Lea Marquez Peterson, President/CEO Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said, "I know as a chamber of commerce, I'm not for additional regulation, regulating additional wage increases for a particular class, in this case but it would actually be incentives perhaps. I know even our city of Tucson is looking at local preferences and so on.  I'd like to see even pay for everybody."

Gaxiola said, "We have to help young people move regularly through high school.  One of the most startling statistics is that only 26 percent of 4th graders are reading at grade level."

Martha McSally said, "We could get out of the way of trying to manage education at the federal level.  Education is managed from my view at best at the local level with parents involved, local schools, competition."

Frank Antenori said, "And where the government would come in is making sure that next generation, their kids get a decent education in our school systems here, learn the language, assimilate into American culture and have that same opportunity every first generation American has to succeed and excel in the United States."

"I think Congress needs to ensure that the maximum number of Americans have an opportunity to achieve the American dream.  That is to make sure that small businesses have an opportunity to grow and expand," Antenori said.

Republican Jesse Kelly was not able to attend but sent the statement, "The best way to improve everyone's economic situation is to grow the economy by lowering taxes and reducing gas prices."

For Gaxiola the answer is not to wait for the situation to clear up on its own. "To sit and think that it's going to work itself out on its own is a little naïve.  It's going to need some pushing to make sure Latinas are getting access to higher education and getting college degrees."

Green candidate, Charlie Manolakis, said his health care work task force would provide more employment for Latinas in caring for the elderly and transportation.

Green write-in, Richard Grayson, says congress should increase the minimum wage to at least ten dollars an hour so that it's a livable wage.

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