Romney targets Hispanic business owners

(CBS News) LOS ANGELES - In campaign 2012, Mitt Romney is addressing the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles on Monday. While Romney is polling far behind the president among Hispanics, that doesn't mean the Republican nominee is without support.

Carlos Galvan has seen his customers' buying habits change.

"If they came in twice a week for groceries, now they're coming in once a week. There are days when sales are pretty flat, you know," Galvan said.

Galvan's family immigrated from Mexico in 1961 and opened Amapola Deli outside of Los Angeles. It's now a chain of three supermarkets.

"It's been the American success story," Galvan said.

It's also an American recession story.

"We have cut back on the hiring. We try to get people to do a little more. The word is uncertainty," Galvan said.

Poll: Obama has foreign policy advantage
Ryan blasts Obama on abortion
Rodeo announcer rebuked for off-color Obama joke

"What is on our mind, or what's on my mind as a Latina, is exactly the same thing that is on everyone else's mind -- creating jobs and the economy," said Nina Vaca, CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources.

Vaca started Pinnacle, a Dallas-based information technology company, in her living room. She now employs 4,000 people and chairs the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

"It is the government's responsibility to create an environment in which small businesses can succeed. What I am most frustrated with, honestly as a business owner, is this incredible toxic political environment," Vaca said.

President Obama leads Romney by two to one with Hispanic voters and is aggressively trying to register more. Romney is trying to cut into that margin by targeting the three million Hispanic-owned businesses.

"These are people who depend on entrepreneurship to feed their families to put food on their table. Small businesses create 60 percent of the vast majority of jobs in this country, and Hispanic-owned businesses are growing at twice the rate," Vaca said.

On Monday, Carlos Galvan plans to be among the thousands of Hispanic business leaders from around the country who will hear Romney, "primarily," Galvan said, "because he is saying things that I want to hear as a business person."

And what Galvan and Vaca say they want to hear from either candidate is: Less regulation, lower taxes, and more access to capital.

  • Karen Brown

Comments