To the editor:

We are writing to clarify the role of the Latino Leadership Coalition of Salem (LLC) since our organization was mentioned in Salem News articles in connection with the recent trial involving the Ward 6 City Council race.

The mission of the Latino Leadership Coalition (LLC) of Salem is to organize and advocate for the inclusion and empowerment of the Latino community in all matters related to the city of Salem. The LLC has worked to register eligible Salem Latino citizens to vote. As a nonprofit, the LLC endorses no candidate and takes no political position. We worked diligently to come to an agreement with the city intended to rectify impediments, including language barriers, to voting. Unfortunately, legislation designed to provide Spanish-language ballots was allowed to die in council committee, according to the Salem News article of Jan. 8, 2020.

Following the election, the LLC contacted the city clerk regarding Mr. Escalera’s voting experience. The clerk immediately began to investigate and shared her findings with the coalition members. The LLC felt Ms. Simons dealt with the matter professionally, ethically and thoroughly, as subsequently borne out by the court decision.

The LLC will renew efforts to work with the City Council and mayor in the hope of securing special legislation authorizing Spanish language ballots in future elections. We affirm our commitment to inform and educate the Latino community on voting rights and procedures and will continue to work with the city to ensure the enfranchisement of all our citizens.

Grace Duran

President

Omar Longus

Vice president

Latino Leadership Coalition

Salem

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