Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Assembly GOP leader creates ‘diversity team’

Lewis Griswold, who covers South Valley news, reports on a big move by Connie Conway:

Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, right, talks with Assembly Members Beth Gaines, R-Granite Bay, and Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, at the Capitol in Sacramento on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (Associated Press photo)

Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, took a hint from the GOP’s poor overall performance in the recent election to form the Assembly Republican Diversity Outreach Team.

A special diversity team composed of Assembly caucus staff members is a first.

The team “will be focused specifically on helping strengthen Republican ties with women, ethnic communities and young people,” an announcement said.

Sabrina Demayo Lockhart, communications director for Conway and the Assembly Republicans, will be the chairperson.

Lockhart has served as assistant associate secretary for multicultural outreach for the California Health and Human Services Agency. In 2007, she was nominated as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the United States.
The team still must decide goals and tactics, but the plan is “to show up and listen” to diverse groups “and do a better job of responding to the issues they think are important,” Lockhart said.

Team members are Republican Assembly caucus employees and will take on the duties in addition to their regular jobs, she said. There is no extra pay, she said.

Also appointed:

  • Ivette Barajas, Spanish-language press secretary for Assembly Republicans.
  • Ronald Ongtoaboc, a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Capitol Association and a communications consultant for Assembly Republicans.
  • Roleeda Statham, community outreach consultant for the caucus who will focus on outreach to African-American communities.
  • Michele Kane, deputy director for news videos, who will focus on women.
  • John Bockweg, a student intern, who will focus on young people.


Peter Robertson says:

While I applaud the Assemblymember Conway’s efforts — “diversity” is more than race and ethnicity.

Where is the Lesbian mother? The gay son?

Is anyone on the panel included whose life is confined to a wheelchair?

Perhaps a veteran that’s served in our military?


The Hon. Conway is closer, but still yet so far. And, hat’s been the challenge of the GOP for the past 30+ years, in my opinion.

Yes, the federal budget is important; but, social issues are even more important.

Merely establishing a “semi-diverse” team of individuals will not solve anything, expect alienate the ones that are still not included with a place at the table.

Then again, that was the GOP’s problem from the very beginning!

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