Mister Holguin goes to Washington
By Joe Olvera ©, 2011
Eddie Holguin, Jr., El Paso City Council Representative for District 6, had a mouthful of facts and figures to give to President Barack Obama regarding immigration policy and how a city government can help in the process, but, he never really got the chance. Yet, it was a fruitful trip to Washington D.C. where he met not only with the President, but, with cabinet members and young leaders from across the United States.
“I never got the chance to go one-on-one with the President, but, I did meet with him briefly and he did speak to us about the economy, technology, and other heady subjects,” Holguin said about his trip to D.C. to attend the Young Elected Officials Convention June 2-5, 2011. The trip was organized by the Young Elected Officials (YEO), a group between the ages of 18 and 35 who represent 4.8 percent of all elected leaders in congressional, gubernatorial, legislative, and city and county commission seats in the United States. These YEOs play an important role in shaping the public agenda and political debates, as they try to control billions of dollars that move through the hands of local, state, and national governments.? Their ability to become elected at an early age is a major indicator of their futures in higher elected offices. According to their website, one of the biggest challenges for YEOs is developing appropriate connections to help them become effective leaders. By connecting with their peers across the U.S., and with progressive policy organizations, members of the YEO network expand their range of innovative solutions and become more confident putting forth their ideas. Networking opportunities, which are vast within the Network, include attendance at conferences and through communications outlets such as the website, newsletter, and online forums.
Holguin, 33, said the trip was meaningful because he got to speak to various cabinet members, and even obtained email addresses so that he could communicate with them directly. Although he didn’t discuss immigration with the President, he did raise the subject in his talks with members of the Obama administration. “We do need comprehensive immigration reform, and we also need for local officials to be part of the conversation,” Holguin said. “When we first arrived, we were taken to a briefing room, where we were briefed by key staffers. After that, we were taken to the White House, where we shook hands with the President and where a reception was held in our honor.”
Holguin, one of about 200 YEO members who attended the convention, was recently re-elected to another four year term in District 6. He has often called for immigration reform, calling it of vital importance. “This was my third trip to D.C., but my first one that involved meeting the President and highly placed officials. Getting the email addresses for key officials was important because now I can have a direct line to them, and can address issues that, perhaps, they haven’t considered. The trip was very fruitful with all the contacts and resources which I accumulated. Just the fact that someone was there to represent El Paso was important. I can honestly say that I got my foot in the door of the Obama Administration.”