Saviano Loss a Major Defeat for Gutierrez

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Saviano Loss a Major Defeat for Gutierrez
By Ray Hanania
Southwest News-Herald Friday November 16, 2012
Cong. Luis Gutierrez (D-4th) has a great record when it comes to helping himself, but he’s not very good at helping others.
In the spring, Gutierrez backed and supported four candidates for four different offices in the Southwest Side and suburbs and lost every race — Rudy Lozano, Robert Reyes, Raul Montes Jr. and Ricardo Munoz. He claims he only supported three losers, not four.

Last week, Gutierrez ventured into DuPage County where he managed to keep his record of failure intact, backing the startling losing campaign of state Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano.

Although backing losers is not surprising for Gutierrez, what really raised eyebrows is his hypocrisy.

Here is a leading Democratic congressman supporting a Republican candidate in an election when everyone was predicting Republicans would be doing very well.

It’s easy to look back now and say Obama had the election in his pocket, but before the election, everyone was predicting a much closer race, including Democrats themselves. Obama needed every Democrat rallying for his re-election but where was Gutierrez? Helping a suburban Republican.

How did Gutierrez justify backing Saviano? Gutierrez claimed that Saviano was a leading supporter of “immigration reform.”

Wow! That sure sounded nice. It made a great news media sound bite to hear Gutierrez assert that he was “supporting Saviano because Saviano is actively supporting immigration reform.”

Hmmm! Really? Since when has the state of Illinois introduced legislation to reform immigration policies to benefit Hispanics?

Ah, never! That’s because the issue of immigration is not a statewide issue at all. It is a national issue. Saviano has nothing to do with immigration reform and the guy who helped point that out was state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-12th), who backed Kathleen Willis, a little known Democratic convert.

Gutierrez has exploited and used the immigration reform issue in every election he has run since first putting down his Cab License to become a controversial member of the Chicago City Council.

He’s been promising to reform immigration laws to help Hispanics since the first day he ran for Congress. And I know because I was there at his side as a campaign consultant during that very first election, believing that Gutierrez was for real. That he cared about Hispanics and minorities.

But today, we know that is not true. Luis Gutierrez only cares about himself. He cares about his politics. He cares about defeating his opponents and he cares about helping his family. He doesn’t care about Hispanics and he doesn’t care about his constituents.

So, Gutierrez backs candidates in elections for one main purpose, to split the Mexican American vote. Mexican Americans are the largest Hispanic minority in his district. So Gutierrez, who is Puerto Rican, works hard to split the Mexican American vote so he can win. His district is only 12 percent Puerto Rican and 76 percent Mexican American.

That’s why Sandoval was so successful in defeating Gutierrez in the Saviano blunder.

As long as Gutierrez can keep voters distracted on other issues, especially Hispanic voters, he can easily win for himself, which is what he does best.

The real fight for immigration reform is at the national level and has nothing to do with why Gutierrez backed a Republican like Saviano. Doing so undermined the Democratic Party, which has a solid record of supporting Hispanics. But like I said, Gutierrez doesn’t care. He only cares about himself.

If Gutierrez really cared about immigration reform for Mexican Americans, he would be supporting Democrats 100 percent of the time, and not back-stabbing his own Democratic party to support Republicans like Saviano.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. You may reach him at  — City & Suburban News-Herald

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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