Latino and Democrat Representative Angela Romero says she and the other Hispanic lawmakers were not invited to a Republican-held town hall event on Thursday.
“Someone tweeted out to me why aren't you here?” Romero says.
It was advertised as the first Utah Latino Town Hall on Facebook.
Representative Romero says she's frustrated not with the intent but with transparency adding “it was presented as a community event, not sponsored by a political party.”
But the event was put on by the Utah GOP.
Chairman Rob Anderson says he helped organize it after learning some Hispanics have left the party adding “whether it's Democrat, Republican or unaffiliated, we're here because we care about you and your issues.”
Anderson says he intended for Republican leadership to be there but it was not meant to be partisan.
As for the ad not being clear on who was hosting the event, Anderson says he turned the marketing over to the Utah Republican Latino Caucus.
“That was done within the Republican Party, there was no effort to exclude anyone,” Anderson says.
Romero says optics was excluded, especially at an event targeted at Latinos adding
"I think it shows other Latinos that there are people that look like you in the state house.”
The Log Cabin Republicans issued a statement:
The Log Cabin Republicans of Utah applaud the recent Latino Town Hall in Salt Lake County. As a Republican advocacy group, we strongly support and encourage opportunities for elected officials to engage deeply with their constituents whom they serve. The over-whelming attendance to this event reflects the enthusiasm of the Latino community to have a seat at the table. Creating a forum for open and diverse dialogue should be applauded by all and we thank those who hosted this wonderful event.
Scott Miller, chair of the Salt Lake County GOP issued a statement:
The recent attention regarding minorities reaching out to the Salt Lake County GOP and our Republican officials reaching out to minorities should come as no surprise. Salt Lake County GOP is a large tent party. Our belief and practices of respect, hard work, and inclusiveness are a welcoming beacon With little public fanfare, we are deeply engaged with Hispanics, African Americans, the Asian community, individuals and families of the LGBTQ community and much more. As a Party, we say Welcome!
Cindie Quintana, Chair of the Utah Republican Latino Coalition issued this statement as well:
The First Latino Town Hall/Asamblea Ciudadana de Utah event was not sponsored, planned, or attended by the Utah Republican Latino Coalition. As an official auxiliary of the Utah Republican Party, we have held many Latino events in our community during the history of our long-standing organization. This event was not the first Latino event in Utah or in our community, and it will not be the last. We have proudly reached across the aisle to hold bi-partisan events with our Democrat friends and will continue to do so. We applaud the efforts made for reaching out to the Hispanic community but were saddened to learn that our Democratic friends were not invited to participate in the panel discussion. It is our understanding that organizers of this event branded it as a UTGOP event. Our hope is that in the future, there will be more inclusion, not exclusion of minority groups for these types of events. Everyone should feel that they are welcome. And when dealing with our elected officials, an identical invitation protocol should be followed regardless of party affiliation.