Downtown Phoenix campus hosts White House summit

The White House kicked off the first of a dozen Hispanic Community Action Summits sponsored by the Obama Administration at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, Jan. 28.

Dozens of senior White House administration officials and policy experts met with approximately 300 people, mostly comprised of university administrators and educators, state and local officials, community stakeholders, students and small business owners to address issues relevant to the Hispanic community. The summit took place at the A.E. England Building, 424 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.

The day-long event began with opening remarks by Jonathan Koppell, director of ASU’s School of Public Affairs and the dean of the College of Public Programs, who hosted the summit.

It’s difficult for the federal government to understand specific community issues when they’re 2,000 miles away,” Koppell said. “Saturday’s summit provided an opportunity for White House administrators and Cabinet Officials to hear from local voices and have personal contact with them.  And it gives Arizonans a chance to have a direct voice in the policymaking process.”

Other participants included U.S. Department of Agriculture Administrator Edward Avalos, Paul Berumen of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Julie Chavez Rodriguez, associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement.

The summit sessions covered a wide range of topics such as immigration, the economy, jobs, mortgage fraud, health care, childhood obesity and education in the Hispanic Community.

The administration will hold Hispanic community action summits in Tampa, Fla.; Elyria, Ohio and San Antonio, Texas in the coming weeks. Each meeting will begin  with a morning session followed by open space workgroups where participants collaboratively set the agenda and identify next steps for community action.