Corporate America Supports Latino Political Empowerment; Fortune 500 Companies to Sponsor NALEO’s 21st Annual Conference

Corporate America Supports Latino Political Empowerment; Fortune 500 Companies to Sponsor NALEO’s 21st Annual Conference

Business Editors/Political Writers

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 25, 2004

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) announced today that The Coca-Cola Company, Pfizer, State Farm, Univision and Washington Mutual, among other companies, will be major sponsors at the organization’s 21st Annual Conference to be held in Washington D.C. from June 24-26, 2004.

As the number of Latinos of voting age soared to more than 22 million from 1990 to 2000, Blue Chip companies are increasing their efforts to support Latinos becoming empowered in the American political process. Recognized as the official Latino Political Convention, NALEO’s Annual Conference will provide a platform to President George W. Bush and presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry to address the nation’s Latino leaders and acknowledge the significance of the Latino vote in the 2004 presidential election.

“Corporations are waking up to the reality of this market and are investing millions of dollars to support the leadership that represents a significant portion of voting America,” said Arturo Vargas, NALEO’s Executive Director. “The U.S. Latino community’s ability to influence the course of our nation can no longer be ignored. With these partnerships we will be able to raise Latino issues from obscurity to the forefront for discussion.”

“Through our partnership with NALEO, we have a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with leaders and policy makers in the Latino community to provide more access and better health care to Latino families in the U.S.,” said Hannah Monserrate Elinson, Manager, Public Affairs, Pfizer Inc.

While the national non-Latino electorate has decreased in its voter participation from 1992 to 2000 by 4%, Latino voters have become a growing force, increasing their voter participation by 40%, from 3.7 million voters in 1992, to 5.9 million in 2000. NALEO hopes to continue accelerating that number and empower Latinos to vote and play a decisive role in the upcoming presidential election.

“Not only are Latinos proving pivotal in the voting booth, but they are also revitalizing the U.S. consumer market as never before, flexing their purchasing power muscle by controlling more than $650 billion in spending power,” said Rudy Beserra, Vice President, Corporate Latin Affairs, The Coca-Cola Company. The Coca-Cola Company has been a corporate sponsor of the NALEO Conference for 15 years.

Millennium and Presidential Sponsors confirmed to date include: Altria, The Coca-Cola Company, Freddie Mac, Household, ING, New Century Financial Corporation, Nissan North America, Pfizer Inc., Southern California Edison, State Farm, Univision Communications, Inc. and Washington Mutual. Congressional, Gubernatorial and Mayoral Sponsors include: Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Hewlett Packard, MBNA, Raytheon and RJ Reynolds.

About NALEO

NALEO is a nonpartisan membership organization whose constituency includes the nation’s more than 6,000 elected and appointed Latino officials.

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