Washington, DC (PressExposure) March 25, 2007 -- Airam da Silva, Executive Director of the Icla da Silva Foundation and Board Member of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and Armando Cortinez, National Diversity Consultant with the NMDP recently attended the National Hispanic Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. The two day conference provided a forum for approximately 350 Hispanic participants from across the country to discuss a range of policy issues with members of the United States Congress and the Administration. The conference participants were nominated to attend by their member of Congress.
"Bringing together Hispanic leaders and our federal officials for an open dialogue and exchange of ideas is vital to our nation's continuing efforts to address the most pressing issues affecting our families, communities, and nation," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), Summit organizer.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) addressed the delegates and welcomed them to the summit. Sen. Mel Martinez (FL) joined Sen. Hutchison to update the participants on legislative priorities in the 110th Congress; then he lead a session on the ideas of comprehensive immigration reform. Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN) spoke on education opportunities, Sen. Michael Enzi (WY) outlined plans for expanded access to affordable, quality health care, and Sen. John Cornyn (TX) discussed legislative proposals for continued economic growth. Participants engaged in informative question and answer sessions following each panel.
Several members of President Bush's administration addressed the Summit's attendees, including keynote speaker U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. Dr. Emilio Gonzalez, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, spoke on immigration devices reform; Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, Director of The National Institutes of Health, addressed efforts to reduce minority health disparities; and Sara Martinez Tucker, Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, updated attendees on programs to help minority students succeed.
"Hispanic achievements have greatly influenced America's policy-making, its economic, medical, and artistic fields. Collaborating on and bringing forward more ideas will continue to help shape our legislative agenda and a better quality of life for all Americans," said Sen. Martinez.