Elections

New GOP Hispanic spokeswoman pressured to drop Miami Dade College board post

Helen Aguirre Ferré
Helen Aguirre Ferré jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

Helen Aguirre Ferré, the newly minted Hispanic communications chief for the national Republican Party, should step down from her position as chair of the board of trustees at Miami Dade College, Miami-Dade GOP chairman Nelson Diaz said on Monday.

Diaz said if he faced the same circumstances, he would step down to avoid increased scrutiny from Democrats and activists. It’s up to Aguirre Ferré, he said, to decide what she wants to do.

Diaz first made his comments on Prohibido Callarse (Silence Banned), a local Spanish-language television show, on Monday night.

“I support Helen 100 percent and what she is doing,” Diaz told the Miami Herald on Tuesday. “I personally wouldn’t serve as both, and I don’t think there is an actual conflict in any shape or form. I think she should step down to avoid the conflict that results from Democrats and activists.”

That conflict reared its head Monday morning when a number of Miami Dade College students and parents started a petition calling for the removal of Aguirre Ferré from the college’s board. The national group United We Dream created a similar petition.

“We want to make her resign,” Maria Bilbao of the Miami Dade College DREAMers said. “I don’t know how she is going to be on the board of a college that opened opportunities for my son and support a guy who wants to deport my son and 11 million immigrants.”

The group presented the petition to Miami Dade College’s media office on Monday.

“I understand it was an FYI and not seeking a response,” Miami Dade College spokesman Juan Mendieta said in an email. “I have not had a chance to review and have no additional comment at this time, but I appreciate everyone’s perspectives.”

The petition from United We Dream states, “Our community will not sit back idly and watch Helen Aguirre Ferré, the chair of the board for Miami Dade College, sell Trump’s hateful agenda. If enough of us sign this petition, we can get her to resign and send a clear message to everyone that our community stands together strong against hate.”

Aguirre Ferré was named the Republican National Committee’s director of Hispanic communications last week, an appointment that prompted her to delete anti-Trump tweets on her account. Diaz believes Aguirre Ferré’s previous anti-Trump statements are no big deal.

“Almost everyone in America has said something about one of the leading candidates,” Diaz said. “Scrutiny is part of the game, just like it’s part of the NFL, and she knows how to defend herself. She will do a great job.”

Diaz hasn’t spoken with Aguirre Ferré, who did not immediately respond for comment, but said that the petitions will bring increased scrutiny.

“She can serve as board chair effectively and be communications director for the RNC,” Diaz said. “The question is how much the Democrats will create conflict and agitation and distract from her role.”

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