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Ariz. Sen. John McCain launches ‘Unidos con McCain’ Hispanic Coalition

Ariz. Sen. John McCain (second from left) launched his "Unidos con McCain” Hispanic Coalition on Thursday in an effort to draw up Hispanic support. (Photo: KTAR/Martha Maurer)

PHOENIX —  In an effort to draw up the support of Hispanic voters in Arizona, Republican Sen. John McCain announced his new campaign, called “Unidos con McCain” or “United with McCain,” on Thursday.

During his tour of Desert Sky Mall in Phoenix, he walked through parts of “Mercado de los Cielos,” a former warehouse that now houses dozens of small shops and eateries owned mostly by Latinos.

“This is an example of what entrepreneurship and opportunity is all about,” said McCain about one of the marketplaces. “This is what our Arizona economy is all about.”

McCain pointed out Hispanic purchasing power is expected to reach a milestone over the next decade.

Last month, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce released its latest DATOS report, which projected that Hispanic consumer spending will hit $52 billion in Arizona by 2024.

The senator’s coalition includes Lea Marquez-Peterson, president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

According to Marquez-Peterson, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce statistics show Latino businesses have nearly doubled in the last decade.

Tommy Espinoza, president and CEO of Raza Development Fund, Inc., the largest Latino community development financial institution in the U.S., is also backing McCain as co-chair of the Coalition.

Pastor Jose Gonzalez, founder of Arizona Christian Link, said he believes McCain will advocate for the needs of the Hispanic community. Gonzalez, along with former reporter Ana Carolina Pereira, make up the other members of the coalition.

For McCain, getting the Latino vote will not be an easy task. He concedes immigration reform is an important part of what Hispanics in Arizona advocate for.

“I am convinced that we can pass reasonable immigration reform with an emphasis in border security,” McCain said. He stressed the ongoing struggle of a rise in heroin trafficking across the border.

During his launch of the campaign, McCain once again denounced GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump and his comments about the Mexican people.

McCain said he is confident that Hispanic citizens will support him.

“Hispanic culture, Hispanic food, Hispanic influence into our state has made our state a diverse, and cultural and wonderful state because of that,” he said.

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