Sometime last month, Domingo Garcia launched his bid to become the next president of LULAC, the nationwide Latino civil rights advocacy organization. He started a campaign page on Facebook on March 8 and sent an open letter to the group's members at about the same time.
"Today LULAC is at a political crossroads," he begins, going on to enumerate the problems facing the Hispanic community: failing schools, attacks on voting rights, Congressional resistance to comprehensive immigration reform. "Our opportunities are ... under threat in the legislative and legal systems with a tone of intolerance, of bigotry, and un-American political attacks that pose serious problems."
To cope with those challenges, Garcia writes, LULAC needs a "visible, articulate, and assertive president," someone who can expand the organization's reach, foster ties with the business community, labor groups, grassroots activists, and reach out to young people. They need someone with the backbone to stand up to states who attempt to "scape goat (sic) Latinos and use us as political pinatas."
The one person who embodies all those qualities? Why, it's Domingo Garcia! He urges members to support him in the election of national officers, slated for this summer in Las Vegas.
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But Garcia's candidacy, not even a month old, is already ginning up controversy. On Friday, a day after the group says it learned of his candidacy, LULAC filed a lawsuit in Dallas County District Court demanding that Garcia be declared ineligible.
The group claims that, although Garcia paid lifetime membership dues in 2006, he hasn't been an active member of any of LULAC's local councils. Because the organization's constitution requires national officers to have been a member of a local council "in good standing for at least three consecutive years at the time of his or her election," the group contends that Garcia's election "threatens the organization's identity and the presidency's legitimacy," according to the suit.
(Note: If the chapter's website is accurate, he's currently the president of LULAC Council 102. The lawsuit insists that this wasn't the case in 2012.)
We've left a message for Garcia and will update when we hear back.