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CTLatinoNews' Top Stories Of 2014

2014 top stories
As the year comes to an end, we take time to look back at the major  stories we reported in 2014.  Dominating CTLatinoNews’ headlines  – this year’s election and the pivotal Latino vote – it was a long campaign season and we covered it with news stories, opinion articles and ‘What’s The Buzz’ – which features comments from our readers.
Just as visible this year on our pages, were stories about all things dealing with immigration reform, the hard fought passage of a bill that allows undocumented residents to obtain a drivers’ license, the start of the Affordable Care Act in Connecticut and its slow outreach to Latinos, the growth of the Hispanic Federation in Connecticut and, of course, the heartwarming stories of the legendary ‘Borinqueneers” and their well-deserved historic Congressional Medal of Honor.  CTLatinoNews began covering this story two years ago–right through this spring–when an estimated 100,000 Borinqueneers finally get their due respect.
There were also some unfortunate stories, including that of two high profile Latino public officials, one arrested, the other lost her legislative seat after legal troubles.   Below are some of the highlights from our coverage. was created to report on Latinos and Latino issues in the state, stories that were not being told in other media and to give Latinos in our state a voice.  On behalf of the entire CTLatinoNews team, we thank our readers and advertisers for your support, once again, and we look forward to another great news year in 2015.

Top Latino News Stories of 2014


Latino Candidates: Lots At Stake In Getting Out The Vote 

Chris rosario campaigning

Christopher Rosario of Bridgeport campaigning for a legislative seat and for Governor Malloy.

One candidate has used his family’s connection to bring a former governor of Puerto Rico to stump for him,  others spend countless rainy days knocking on doors, while a few candidates in relatively safe districts make stumping for Malloy one of their priorities.  What they all have in common, however, regardless of party affiliation, is that they are acutely aware that if the Latino vote does have an impact on  this election, it may  finally determine the increased political clout the state’s half million Hispanic residents have been awaiting.

CT Latinos: Political Research Firm Says Pivotal in Election 

gop or dem
If Tuesday’s election results carry any message for Connecticut’s political leaders it was that if you talk and walk with the growing Latino community, good things can happen on Election Day. This may include winning.
According to an analysis by Latino Decisions, an opinion political research firm, the Latino vote was pivotal in Connecticut.
Although it will take time to gather and study the pertinent data, it appears that Latinos residing in just three cities, New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford, may have given Gov. Dannel Malloy a margin that might have exceeded his overall victory edge, 24,000 votes over Republican Tom Foley.

The Connecticut Latino Behind The ‘Borinqueneers’ Bill

frank medina

Frank Medina (center) who grew up in Bridgeport led the successful effort to make sure the “Boringueneers’ received the distinction they deserved in history.

Frank Medina, grew up in Bridgeport, CT,  and still remembers when he first learned about the legendary ‘Borinqueneers.’ It was from his grandfather, who served in the 65th Infantry Regiment.  Medina  remembered the story of the valiant unit,  which fought in some of the fiercest battles in WWI, II and the Korean War despite the discrimination they faced in  the very military in which they served.
 Efrain Santiago, Frank’s grandfather who was proud to have served as a

Efrain Santiago, Frank’s grandfather who was proud to have served as a “Borinqueneer’

The young Medina, who now lives in Orlando, Florida, went on to  graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2002, served in the Iraqi war, and years later, by chance, met another member of the 65th Infantry Regiment, Raul Reyes. It was then that Medina decided it was time to take action.  The infantry regiment was disbanded …
Opinion: The Borinqueneers Taught Us A Priceless Lesson
Celestino Cordova and Jose Picard of Connecticut attended the White House signing of the bill awarding the 65th Regiment, the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.  Congressinal

Celestino Cordova and Jose Picard of Connecticut attended the White House signing of the bill awarding the 65th Regiment, the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. Congressinal

This past week Celestino Cordova and Jose Picard from Connecticut, along with a few other remaining veterans known as the Borinqueneers, watched in the White House as President Barack Obama signed a bill awarding their once little known military unit the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the country’s highest civilian award.
Did they ever imagine this moment in American history would actually arrive?
Immigration Reform

Bill Seeks Driver’s Licenses For State’s 50,000 Undocumented Immigrants

Rep. Juan Candelaria (D) New Haven led the fight for the passage of allowing undocumented residents to obtain a driver's license.

Rep. Juan Candelaria (D) New Haven led the fight for the passage of allowing undocumented residents to obtain a driver’s license.

A bill in the State House of Representatives meant to give immigrants a clear path to obtaining state driver’s licenses, has revealed common ground between House Republicans and federally undocumented immigrants. Neither group is satisfied with the status quo (for different reasons) and both welcome legislative action to clarify the rules on who can obtain drivers’ licenses.
The language of the bill, HB6037, has yet to be fleshed out and disagreements will likely emerge, both in committee and during the voting process, given the bill’s intent and the differing views between Democrats and Republicans on immigration policy. The bill is titled “An Act Concerning the Issuance of a Motor Vehicle Operator’s License to Certain Immigrants,” and state Rep. Juan Candelaria (D-New Haven), who introduced the bill, is clear that his goal is to expand driving privileges to more people regardless of federal immigration status.
 “We have approximately 50,000 undocumented immigrants in the state of Connecticut,” Candelaria said. “More licensed drivers would be a revenue stream for the state. The insurance companies will benefit from this, and the residents and immigrants will benefit from this, because at least they’ll be able to drive without the fear of being stopped by a police officer. When you are in a traffic accident, the likelihood of you staying at the scene will be more, if you have a driver’s license, instead of fleeing the scene.”
Affordable Care Act/Access Healthy CT
               Access Health CT – A Slow Start In Reaching Latinos


  Latinos make up 25% of Access Health CT’s target group for enrollment in the health exchange, and with today, December 23rd as the first of the enrollment deadlines, there is no clear indication of how successful the state’s health exchange has been in enrolling Latinos and its CEO candidly admits, their effort to reach Latinos started months after the general campaign began in July.
Access Health CT, Connecticut’s state health exchange was created under the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  Nationally, it has had numerous problems, and while Connecticut has been mentioned as one of the more successful programs, it’s still hampered by federal glitches.
 Last week, Kevin Counihan, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Health CT, stated on National Public Radio that the exchange’s Spanish Language Site was not ready to go live, nor would it be ready this month, in spite of the December 23rd deadline.
 Also, although the health exchange began enrolling residents on October 1st, currently, no information is available on some simple facts related to Latino enrollment, such as:  Are Latinos signing up for health plans through Access Health CT? At what pace? How many of the 47,000 participants enrolled to date are Latinos?    CEO Counihan candidly admits they do not have even the vaguest of ballpark guesstimates……
TOMORROW: The photos that captured memorable moments this year.

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