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Published: Friday, 11/1/2013

FLOC leader Velasquez backs Collins in mayoral race

Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee
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Baldemar Velasquez, the dean of Toledo's Latino community, today endorsed Councilman D. Michael Collins for mayor -- a week after Hispanic City Councilman Adam Martinez backed incumbent Mayor Mike Bell.

Mr. Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee that represents predominantly Hispanic migrant farmworkers, said he supports Mr. Collins because of his willingness to listen.

He also said he disagrees with Mayor Bell's stances on labor issues.

Mr. Velasquez announced his endorsement at FLOC's offices on Broadway in South Toledo. 

Mayor Bell and Mr. Collins have clashed repeatedly on the question of whether Toledo police officers engage in racial profiling. Mr. Collins said at a forum sponsored by the Toledo chapter of the NAACP earlier in the campaign that based on a report from the city police department, he did not believe racial profiling existed. He has turned the question back at Mr. Bell, asking several times since then if the report was a lie.

Last week, Councilman Martinez endorsed Mr. Bell and blasted Mr. Collins's oft-reported opinion that Toledo Police do not engage in racial profiling.

Mr. Velasquez said he worked with Mr. Collins to develop a resolution that allowed Toledo City Council to oppose an Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration. He said Mr. Collins voted against the initial version.

"The two of us drafted a new resolution which was stronger than the original one and subsequently passed with little opposition and I was grateful for our city council taking this stand," Mr. Velasquez said.

Contact Tom Troy: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.

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