As a Celebrity You Get Knocked For 'What Does She Know?'
The actress and Obama campaign co-chair actually walks the talk, and says Romney is on the wrong side of every Latino issue.
With Desperate Housewives wrapping, I'm going to dedicate most of my free time to the Obama campaign. The communities I'm an advocate for are the women's and Latino communities. The big picture is that people need to stop looking at the Latino community as us vs. them. The Latino community is American; its concerns are the same. The economy is the No. 1 issue, second is education, then health care, and immigration falls fourth or fifth.
What's important is what President Obama has done to help Hispanics in attaining higher education. There are now 150,000 more Pell grants available to Hispanic students. The Affordable Care Act would allow more than 9 million uninsured Latinos to have affordable health care. When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, he's been safeguarding those entitlements for millions of Hispanic seniors who've invested in and depend on the program.
I think as a celebrity you get knocked for "What does she know?" I look at it as being a citizen. As a celebrity, I have a way to reach people, but you need to be authentic. If you are just there for the photo op, it's going to show. I have been fighting the fight. In my involvement with Eva's Heroes, which works with kids with special needs, there was a huge budget cut on the table in Texas for group homes and kids with special needs. We protested at the Texas Capitol and got them to stop the cuts. I did a documentary, Harvest, on child labor in agriculture as a political tool to help push the Care Act forward to get children out of the field. They are the only ones not protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
My representatives probably are a little scared to tell me not to be political. They know how passionate I am. In Arizona, when it passed SB 1070, I told my agents at CAA, "Look, everybody has so many questions about this law that promotes racial profiling." I asked CAA if I could do a forum at the agency. It was for everybody -- agents, writers, producers -- to come hear both sides.
Mitt Romney is on the wrong side of every issue that pertains to Latinos. He called SB 1070 a model law for the rest of the country. He tried to clarify, saying he meant a certain aspect of it, which shows his flip-flopping nature. Hispanics can stand to lose the most from his insistence on the Republicans' same failed economic policy. The Latino community needs to know what he stands for. He said during the campaign he would veto the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act if it came across his desk. That means you are not investing in the future of America. There was a story on CNN about this valedictorian who has been accepted into Ivy League schools and is up for deportation. She was brought here when she was 5 through no fault of her own. Why would we not want to keep her in this country as an American citizen or at least give her a pathway?
Would I ever run for something? God, no. I have more power as a citizen. Once you become a politician, your hands are tied. I'd rather have a voice.
Longoria is co-founder of Eva's Heroes and is on the board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She next stars in the film The Baytown Disco.