During the Univision candidate forum at the University of Miami in Florida on September 19, a young Latina asked Gov. Mitt Romney what he could do to help her pay her university debt.
Governor Romney could have answered in a number of different ways.
He could have said that if he was president he would lower the interest rates, extend the payback period or just forgive the entire loan -- just like President Obama has done and said. Instead, Governor Romney said he would get her a job, a good paying job.
And it struck me that it is the fundamental difference between the two candidates.
This simple comment not only resonated with me; it has also resonated with young college graduates, Latinos in particular, and most specifically with the parents of those college graduates.
This is the reason why I believe the polls that show a significant number of Latinos supporting the president are, at best, misleading and, at worst, inflated.
If I know one thing about the Latino community, it is their work ethic.
It is the pride they have in earning their living.
It is the simple notion that we will not be a burden to society.
We Latinos are not interested in getting a free ride; even our use of coupons is lower compared to other populations.
Our work is our badge of honor. If you give us an opportunity, a job, we will show up, we will work tirelessly and we will not complain.
When appealing to young people, President Obama has talked about the crushing college debt. Of course, under his watch, both the increase of in-state tuition at a four-year college has been a staggering 25 percent, according to the College Board, and the segment college graduates who cannot find a job is a shocking 50 percent.
Given his dismal record, I am certain he cannot look at those students in the eye and ask them for another four years.
It is not a wonder that the level of enthusiasm among young college students for President Obama is nowhere the record high he had four years ago.
Saying that those young people are disenchanted is an understatement. They have realized that the enchantment of four years ago has turned into real economic disenfranchisement.
So this brings me back to that young Latina; I am certain that the governor’s response gave her more than hope. President Obama’s hope and change slogan of four years ago has given way to Mitt Romney’s calm confidence that with him at the helm we can restore our economy and, with it, give the young people the opportunities they need to pay for their own financial obligations. Ultimately a booming economy provides all of us the means to fulfill our own dreams.
Young Latinos, high school and college graduates, will be going to the polls next week. The choice couldn’t be clearer for them. If they want a job Mitt Romney is the ticket.
Rosario Marin was the 41st Treasurer of the United States and is co-chair of the American Competitiveness Alliance.