February 06, 2012

Simon institute event features Gloria Campos

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A discussion on the voting behavior of women kicks off the spring semester of events at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Gloria M. Campos, a Jackson County businesswoman and political activist, will present “Women in Politics: Winning the Women’s Vote,” Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 5 p.m., in the Institute lobby, 1231 Lincoln Drive, in the old U.S. Forestry Building.

The presentation is part of the Institute’s “Women in Politics” series.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend the “Pizza and Politics” session with Gloria Campos.  For more information, contact Matt Baughman, associate director, at 618/453-4009, or 618/201-0082.

 Campos fled her native Nicaragua following political unrest and a resulting civil war in the late 1970s, going first into exile in Guatemala, and later Mexico.  Campos and her family came to the United States in 1986 after receiving political asylum status.  She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1995. 

“Campos is a living example of how new immigrants can succeed in American politics,” said David Yepsen, Institute director. “The purpose of our ‘Women in Politics’ series is to present people and experts who can help women get involved in politics and elected to office.  Her work in the Latino community and at the grassroots level of local politics makes her a good role model for many other women.”

The event is free, but Institute officials encourage registration.  To register, contact Institute project coordinator Carol Greenlee at 618/453-4078 or by email at cgreenlee@siu.edu.

Campos said she wants to share how women’s votes define the outcome of an election.

“The importance of women and participation in a campaign is crucial for candidates and the community,” she said.

A leader in the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Campos turned the Illinois chapter into the second largest on the national level while serving as the organization’s state chair.  She became a founding member in 2009 of the Latino National Republican Coalition, and is national vice chair.  She was a delegate for the state’s 12th Congressional District for the 2004 Republican National Convention, and an alternate delegate at-large at the 2008 convention.

Campos said the key for getting Latinos to participate in the political process  “is for the different political parties to reach out, explain the issues, and be invited to be part of the solution.”

“Latinos are about issues, and this is the key for us to get involved in the process,” she said, adding that it is up to political parties to be transparent.

Emily Burke, program coordinator at the Institute, said the idea for Campos to participate in the series came last fall at a breakfast for women leaders when Campos shared an interaction with a man who once said he would not recognize her authority because she was a woman.  Campos’ reply of “sounds like a personal problem to me,” is a story Campos often shares, and illustrates challenges women face even today, Burke said.

“Women leaders have to convince voters that they are not just a novelty in the political arena.  Gloria Campos is a perfect illustration of that.”

Campos and her husband, Ramon, live in Murphysboro.  The couple has four children and three grandchildren.

For more information on the program, contact the Institute at 618/453-4009 or visit paulsimoninstitute.org/.