• “Se Habla” Business: Former Governor Jeb Bush, Former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez Host @HispanicLN

The 2-day bilingual event, held at Coral Gables’ historic Biltmore Hotel, aimed to engage US Hispanics on issues of the utmost importance to the community’s —and the nation’s— prosperity

From immigration and healthcare to the economy, business, communications, housing and education, there was no issue left on the table during the Hispanic Leadership Network’s 2013 Miami Conference. Titled “Family Reunión,” the two-day bilingual forum, hosted by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Carlos Gutiérrez, US Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush, at the Biltmore Hotel.

miamiemp jeb bush
Former Governor Jeb Bush addressing the guests during the opening ceremony

The audience at #HLN13, as the event trended on Twitter, included hundreds of South Florida Hispanics and Republicans, as well as attendees from around the state and the nation. Out-of-towners included Lenny Curry, Chairman of the Republican Party of FloridaBettina Inclán, renowned communications and political strategist with the NRCC, from Silicon Valley, California; Dan Conston and Eric Wilson, both with AAN, from Washington, D.C.

As in 2011 and 2012, the conference featured a slew of national headliners from the Republican Party, all of whom helped bring forth the organization’s center-right message and mission to the audience. The event’s headliner was the outspoken and dynamic Puertorican physician, Antonia Coello Novello, M.D., the first Hispanic/first female Surgeon General of the United States (1990-1993), who tackled the impact of the Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.

Richard Lozada, Antonia Novello, M.D. and Bettina Rodríguez-Aguilera
Antonia Novello, M.D., former US Surgeon General (center), with Richard Lozada and Bettina Rodríguez-Aguilera

Also present was Rosario Marín, 41st Treasurer of the United States (the only foreign born individual to occupy that post), who joined Fred Malek, founder of the American Action Network, and Jennifer S. KornHLN‘s Executive Director, to welcome the attendees during the opening ceremony.

As its billing implied, the U.S. Congressional Panel: Immigration Reform / Not Just a Latino Issue panel, moderated by HLN’s Jennifer S. Korn, was led by two congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart (FL) and David Valadao (CA), joined by Rubén Barrales, president of GROW Elect, a 527 political action committee that recruits, endorses, trains, and funds Latino Republican candidates for public office.

Rubén Barrales with Congressmen David Baladao (CA) and Mario Díaz-Balart (FL)
Rubén Barrales with Congressmen David Baladao (CA) and Mario Díaz-Balart (FL)

Another animated discussion was had during the Policy Panel: Economy & Education. Smaller, Smarter Government for a Brighter Future.  The audience heard Governor Bush, Secretary Gutiérrez, and César Conde, President of the Univision Networks at Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America.

The conference’s final panel, El Poder De La Palabra: Communicating Effectively Through Mainstream & Social Media, was no shrinking violet as it addressed the crucial relevance of social media in today’s campaigning strategies and the failure of the GOP in effectively utilizing the media to “sell” its message to voters during the 2012 election. The panelists: Helen Aguirre Ferré, journalist and political analyst at Univisión Radio; Alex Castellanos, political commentator and political media consultant with National Media & Purple StrategiesKatie Harbath, Manager for Policy at Facebook, focusing on political outreach; and Dan Conston, Communications Director at American Action Network, Congressional Leadership Fund, and American Action Forum.

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Former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez with Alex True and Erbi Blanco-True


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Governor Bush and Erbi Blanco-True


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