Several Phoenix Latino political leaders publicly endorsed Barack Obama for president Tuesday.
The former members of the Arizona presidential steering committee for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, said Obama's political views on education, health care and immigration will best benefit Arizona's Latino community. Richardson dropped out of the race after the New Hampshire primary.
John Laredo, former Arizona House Minority Leader, said Obama's work against racial profiling and other issues have benefited Latinos.
"His history as a civil rights attorney, in particular his focus on voting rights, his support of the Dream Act - those things are what matters to the Latino community here," he said. "We need someone that's not going to take our vote for granted."
State Rep. Steve Gallardo said Obama's experience addressing the needs of people of color is documented. "Look at what he's done for minorities and Latinos in Illinois," he told Latino voters. "When you look at education, health care, housing and particularly immigration, Obama has been at the forefront."
Former State Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez said because Obama's father was from Kenya, Obama can relate to many Latinos' desire for immigration reform.
"He's the son of an immigrant. There's a worldview - a whole world - captured in that statement that those of us who are immigrants and children of immigrants understand," Gutierrez said.
State Rep. David Lujan said no other candidate could support the Latino community better than Obama, regardless of how much experience they have. Arizona Latinos need someone with a fresh perspective in office, he said.
"It's one thing to have experience. It's another to be able to implement that change," Lujan said.