With more than half of the sitting members of Congress representing districts with significant Latino populations, Hispanic public affairs expertise is increasingly in demand. Dr. Rochelle Larkin Ford, APR, hosts the following guests, who share their thoughts on reaching out to this segment:
Manuel Mirabal, president, Tonio Burgos and Associates’ Washington, D.C. office, leads the firm’s government affairs and communications functions. Mirabal is considered one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States and one of the 25 most powerful Hispanics in Washington. He regularly testifies before Congress on issues such as education, economic development, the environment, technology and telecommunications, and corporate social responsibility. Mirabal has served as chair of national boards, including the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, as well as on the board of the United Way of America.
Maria Cardona is a seasoned Democratic strategist, public affairs and communications professional with more than 18 years experience in the political, government, public relations, campaign, community and coalition building arenas. She joined the Dewey Square Group (DSG) — a premier national public affairs firm — as a principal in February 2005 to assist the firm’s corporate, nonprofit and trade association clients with strategic partnerships at the national, state and local level, especially within the Latino community. Cardona also is instrumental in helping DSG clients, within an overall communications strategy, take advantage of the ever-growing opportunities for exposure in the Hispanic media.
Katy Varney is a partner at McNeely Pigott & Fox, located in Nashville, Tenn. She has a strong background in government affairs and coalition building and has a nationwide network of contacts. Varney has overseen successful grassroots campaigns and has led account teams handling communications for the Job Corps program in 36 states in addition to highly effective national advertising campaigns for the federal job training initiative. She is a graduate of Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. She worked on the White House advance staffs of then First Lady Rosalyn Carter and later, Vice President Walter Mondale, and served as former Tennessee Gov. Ned McWherter's chief lobbyist on Capitol Hill.