Editorials

Miami’s woman in the White House

Miami Herald Editorial Board

In Aguirre Ferré, South Florida has a strong representative in the White House’s West Wing.
In Aguirre Ferré, South Florida has a strong representative in the White House’s West Wing.

Despite his dislike of the media and his apparent war on undocumented immigrants, the White House has a Miami-born journalist of Nicaraguan descent as special assistant to the President and director of media affairs. That’s good news for us in Miami-Dade.

Helen Aguirre Ferré’s herculean task now will involve delivering and selling the president’s message to the nation’s Hispanic community. And in light of his immigration reform efforts, that will be no easy task.

Aguirre Ferré is currently one of the highest ranking Hispanics in the White House, that’s because the new president broke a tradition started by Ronald Reagan and did not appoint a Hispanic to his cabinet.

Not surprisong, Aguirre Ferré has already handled one controversy. She promised the media the White House will soon restore a Spanish-language website, which went dark after inauguration day.

A well-known and respected, award-winning bilingual media personality who left the business last year to head Spanish-language communications for the Republican National Committee before joining Trump’s White House, Aguirre Ferré assured a concerned media the removal of the link offering Spanish translation on the White House website was not deliberate. She adroitly put out that initial fire.

Aguirre Ferré is fitting for the job. She has both journalistic and political pedigree. Aguirre Ferré is the daughter of Horacio Aguirre, a well-known Nicaraguan journalist who in 1953 founded Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas in Miami. She is also the daughter-in-law of former mayor of Miami Maurice Ferré.

For years, Aguirre Ferré was the Opinion page editor for Diario las Américas, where he also wrote a weekly column she has had local shows on Spanish-language radio and television and in the English-language media. Aguirre Ferré was in charge for 12 years of “Issues with Helen Ferré,” a program on public television channel WPBT 2. She also wrote a Sunday column for the Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald,

Aguirre Ferré has also been active on education issues and has been chair of the Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College, known around the country as a college dedicated to offering young immigrants valuable help in accessing higher education, like the DREAMers, the undocumented youths who came to the United States as children, who are currently protected from deportation by an executive order of former President Barack Obama known as DACA, the Deferred Action for Arrivals in Childhood.

Aguirre Ferré is well-versed in the DREAMers plight since hundreds of them attend MDC. The Trump administration has hinted that it has given a respite to the DREAMers, for now. The fact that Trump has been willing to tone down some of his more radical campaign promises is progress.

But here’s the best news about Aguirre Ferré: Her appointment brings a voice for Hispanics into the halls of power and that’s an encouraging action from the new government — and good news for Miami-Dade countians and Floridians, who get an unofficial spokeswoman in the sphere of presidential power.

We hope Aguirre Ferré’s presence will exert a positive influence that softens the radical positions of President Trump on issues that affects Hispanics in the U.S., a minority whose population growth has a visible effect on American life. That’s can’t be denied or ignored.

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