NEWBURGH – The Latino Democratic Committee of Orange County held their annual Fall Dinner Dance on Saturday, October 2 at Cafe Internationale at The Ramada.
This year’s honorees were Cándida A. Bidó and Edwin and Norma Ramirez.
Bidó moved to Orange County in 2011 and quickly became involved with the Democratic Party in the County. She is the District Leader for the 6th District in the Town of Crawford; a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee and member of the Orange County Democratic Women. Bidó is also on the Board of Directors of the Latino Democratic Committee of Orange County and is serving as the Representative of the 101st Assembly District for the New York State Democratic Committee and as a Judicial delegate.
After Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico, Bidó was part of a Mental Health Deployment Team in Puerto Rico. She delivered trainings in Spanish to educators, social workers and other educational personnel in eight districts. The team traveled to 492 schools and provided training to 72 municipalities in two weeks.
An emotional Norma Ramirez accepted the award on behalf of herself and her deceased husband Edwin Ramirez, Sr. Both were born in Puerto Rico and raised in Brooklyn. The duo ran R&M Promotions, producing many Latino Festivals during the summer in the Hudson Valley to share their Puerto Rican culture with the community. The annual Latino Gala was the highlight of their work and a fundraiser for the Hudson Valley Latino Scholarship.
Ramirez was proud to announce that she and husband Eddie have been able to award 164 scholarships to Hudson Valley Latino high school seniors over the years. She continues to chair the Hudson Valley Latino Scholarship Fund after her husband’s passing to continue his legacy.
All honorees received certificates of appreciation from local elected officials including NYS Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson and NYS Senator James Skoufis.
This year’s Keynote Speaker was New York State Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James. Latino Democratic Committee Chair Sonia Ayala in introducing the 67th Attorney General for the State of New York, spoke to her long history of being a public servant with a long record of accomplishments. Of particular note, is the fact that James is the first woman of color to hold statewide office in New York and the first woman to be elected Attorney General.
Attendees, including elected officials and candidates listened as Attorney General James rallied the crowd to get involved and stay involved in all levels of government, and to protect the rights of Latinos.
James recognized the contributions of Latino’s in general and their front line efforts during the pandemic. She also addressed the fact that the Committee was one of the first to endorse her candidacy for Attorney General three years ago.
She then highlighted several accomplishments of her office that she says were made on behalf of all New Yorkers, not just Democrats.
“Politics stops at the door of the New York State Attorney General,” she said, when referencing the investigation into former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “As you all know, I’ve never shied away from a big fight,” said James. “I had a job to do, so I put my head down and did my job, and I hope I did not disappoint,” she said, making the point that she was motivated and concerned about “young women who entered public service to make a difference in the lives of others and unfortunately found themselves in a toxic environment and it was important to speak their truths.”
The topic of her political future then came up as many in the room think she may be planning a run for governor.
“How can I best make transformational change?” James asked. “So that is the challenge and the issue I am wrestling with. I love what I do as Attorney General, but the questions is, can I best serve this state in my current role or in another role?” While no answer was given, she has attended several events in the Hudson Valley and is planning a state-wide tour to distribute state funds. Those in attendance think she would make a great choice for governor.