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A Historical Look at the RNHA and the 2004 Establishment of the Illinois State Chapter
Posted December 19, 2014 by Deb L Gordils

In 1967, a determined, well educated group of men realized the need for a National organization to represent the interest of Latinos and to be part of the Republican Party's political process. These men were Ben Fernandez, who later went on to run for President in the Republican primary won by our beloved Ronald Reagan. Manuel Lujan, who became Secretary of the Interior, Martin Castillo and Francisco Vega both World War II Veterans, were later named Chairmen of the Cabinet Committee on Opportunities for the Spanish Speaking. Dr. Ramirez had the honor of being personally selected by President Richard Nixon and Fernando Oaxaca, who later served as Associate Director in the OFFICE of Management and Budget, together they formed the Republican National Hispanic Council later changed to the Republican National Hispanic Assembly with Mr. Ben Fernandez as National Chairman.

The 1972 Re-Election of President Nixon confirmed the impact the newly formed RNHA and it's members would have as results showed 60% of the Hispanic vote went Republican. President Nixon then appointed George H.W. Bush as Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) who kept the ongoing RNC-RNHA relationship evident in 1976 when President Gerald Ford gave remarks at an RNHA Banquet. Throughout the 80's and 90's the RNHA enjoyed prominence. 

In 2004, the wave of Latino voters voting Republican continued. Republican Candidate George Bush Jr. won with a whopping 40% of the Latino Vote and Illinois Republican Hispanics launched the State of Illinois Chapter still operating today. 2006 saw the beginning of a national effort to put the broken immigration system on the national stage and blame Republicans for poorly handling reform. Once the blame was given, the GOP was painted as racist against Latinos, and by 2009 the money began to dry up and the National RNHA membership had dwindled.

By 2010, with a National RNHA leadership divided, State Chapters began to fall feeling the failed impact. Illinois was not a safe haven and at the 2011 Illinois RNHA State Convention some members attempted to overthrow the Leadership. Chaos ensued and even a legal battle was launched, but the Illinois Republican National Hispanic Assembly was determined to not only keep the established Chapter alive in Illinois, but pull a dozen other States to hold on, and in 2013, Illinois hosted the 2013 National RNHA Convention calling on all remaining State Chapters.

The 2013 National Convention of the RNHA hosted by the Illinois RNHA had none other then the now newly elected Governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner as a guest Speaker. Governor Rauner talked of the importance to rise above the obstacles and hope for a better tomorrow. Two years later, Bruce Rauner has won the 2014 General Election for Governor and the Illinois RNHA is celebrating it's 10th year Anniversary plus has gained over a dozen new County Chairs.

In 2015, the Illinois RNHA established in 2004, will have it's BIENNIAL STATE CONVENTION in the great city of Chicago. Many will be there in support along with elected officials and most importantly the founding fathers of the RNHA. Join us at The Hotel Lincoln at 1816 N. Clark Street for a full day of Republican Politics!

Today, the RNHA members continue to play an influential role in Illinois politics. If the mission of the RNHA is to increase Hispanic participation in electoral politics at all levels as well as boost Hispanic membership in the Republican Party, well, many of it's present members worked tirelessly to support Republican Candidates across this great State. Furthermore, the RNHA seeks to promote the philosophy and political ideology of the Party within the Hispanic community and the election results of Latino support in the 2014 elections not just in Illinois but across the country have the RNHA very hopeful of a strong comeback!

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