UFW prez happy with convention

United Farm Workers president Arturo S. Rodríguez believes his third Democratic National Convention last week was "probably the best of the three just because there was such a tremendous presence of the Latino community."

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was the convention president, and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro became the first Latino to give the DNC's keynote speech.

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the Hispanic caucus.

Actress Eva Longoria, a co-chair of the Obama presidential campaign, spoke. Actress América Ferrera was also present, and Mark Anthony sang the national anthem.

More than 800 of the 5,556 delegates were Latino.

"There was much more Latino presence than in previous conventions," said Rodríguez, a member of the convention committee.

Rodríguez, however, isn't content with recent polling showing Obama has a 70-30 percentage lead over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

"It was a great convention, there was lots of ánimo (encouragement), but we have our work cut out for us these next 60 days," said Rodríguez during a telephone interview last Friday.

That is why Rodríguez and the UFW will spend time in Colorado, a battleground state that could decide the presidential election.

"We have a lot of presence there," said Rodríguez about Colorado, which has 9 electoral votes.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield, joined a conference call last Friday to address the Romney-Paul Ryan proposals he said will be harmful to the economy.

Ryan appeared in Fresno at a fundraising event last Saturday that raised an estimated $1 million.

"I'm a bit puzzled at the fact that Mr. Ryan would visit Obama country," said Rubio. "On the heels of the convention, we are more fired up than ever."

Rubio took a page from Gov. Jerry Brown in challenging Ryan to a marathon, push-ups or pull-ups. Brown challenged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to a marathon after Christie criticized Brown as a "rethread."

Ryan found himself backtracking on a statement that he ran a marathon (26.2 miles) in 2 hours and 50 minutes. It later turned out his time was more than 4 hours.

Rubio, who was joined in the conference call by Congressman John Garamendi, said it is important to challenge Romney and Ryan in California because of important Congressional races.

"If Republicans control the Congress, then the Romney-Ryan budget will be the rule of the land," said Garamendi. "California is a blue state, but parts of the state are red."