Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly: Disclaimer on Somos Republicans

Due to a flurry of media advisories being dispersed by Antonella Packard under the name of ‘Somos Republicans’; The Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly wants to make clear, that we are not ‘Somos Republicans’ (hereafter referred to as SR), nor are we affiliated or associated in any way with the actions and words of SR.

SR made its debut in Utah when they issued a press release on December 1, 2010 titled: We condemn the incarceration of Dream Act activist near the office of Senator Orrin Hatch. The Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly objected to SR’s attempts to malign the character of Utah’s Senior Senator Hatch with the issuance of a media advisory riddled with inaccurate, misleading and accusatory information. At the time, some members of the media and the Utah GOP mistakenly attributed the press release as being authored by the Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly.

On December 9, 2010- SR issued a press release titled: “Somos Republicans is the largest and fastest growing Hispanic Republican organization in the nation, and we are proud to announce and appoint Antonella Packard as State Director for Utah.”

On December 28, 2010 –SR promoted Antonella from the position of Utah state director to that of ‘Northwest Director’ of their organization. Even more rapid than Antonella’s ascent in the organization is its report of exponential membership growth in Utah. In a Deseret News article by John Daley titled: ‘Hispanic Republicans look to raise profile on immigration’, Antonella reports they have ‘thirty members’. At this point, as far as many of us can determine SR in Utah has a membership of one person. If thirty new Hispanic Republicans do materialize, party officials in Utah would be more than happy to meet them and welcome them into the GOP.

Of notable interest here in Utah, is that the Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly has worked closely with Republican and Democrat legislators, civic and religious organizations to develop several versions of an in-state guest worker program for consideration during the 2011 legislative session. In contrast to the direction we are moving with immigration reform, a recent City Weekly article stated “Somos Republicans does not champion “state solutions,” even the more Hispanic-friendly ones like Sen. Luz Robles’ plan to create a waiver for undocumented immigrants in the state…”

In terms of our purposes; The Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly is an integral part of the Utah Republican Party and is designed to bring even more Hispanics into the Party. In stark contrast, “Somos Republicans’ biggest strength may be its independence from the GOP, which allows the organization to take jabs at Republicans…” (Antonella Packard to Lead Conservative Latinos, City Weekly- December 28, 2010).

This same City Weekly article states that SR has 6,000 members in twelve states. That number is disputed by Party officials in those states as well as the claim that they are ‘largest and fastest growing Hispanic Republican organization in the nation’. “Matt Roberts, a spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party, last week described Somos Republicans as a one-issue organization often quoted in the Arizona media, although he questions the strength of its membership.”We have tried to work with them in the past, and they have been unwilling to work with the Arizona Republican Party in promoting some Republican candidates. We have several Hispanic Republican groups in Arizona that we work with, and Somos is not one of them,” Roberts said.” (Hispanics hope to sway GOP, Des Moines Register –December 12,2010). Arizona Political pundits describe SR as a “Fraudulent GOP group still hard at work to undermine Republicans” (Political Views from a Red State blog – October 4, 2010) and “DeeDee Blase’s one-woman “Somos Republicans” does not represent AZ Republican Hispanics” (Sonoran Alliance blog – March 12, 2010). One blogger wrote:”Dee Dee Blase was an embarrassment by bringing her shrill amateur presentation to the table. It’s not that I completely disagreed with Mrs. Blase, but if you are going to present your ideas to a public forum, you should at least be civil and composed. Her rants mirrored the same style leftists use every time their ideas are challenged.” (The Right Guy blog –May 6, 2010)

All evidence to date, suggest that SR consist of a handful of disenchanted Arizonians that have in turn appointed a lose network of state and regional directors with the allurement of ‘national exposure’. There is no question that their cyber-world presence via web page, blogs, twitters, press releases, social media etc…far outweighs their value to the GOP in the real world of politics. Our purpose in creating this fact sheet is to clearly make the distinction between our two organizations and our stated purposes. They are not us, and we are not them.


The Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly was founded in 1991, by Jorge Arce-Larreta. Past state chairs include Marco Diaz, Sylvia Haro and Joe Reyna.

The Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly is an official auxiliary of the Utah Republican Party. Our current State Chair, Michael Clara works as a Transit Planner and serves as a member the Republican State Party Executive Committee and is a member of the Republican State Central Committee. Additionally, Michael was elected by the precinct chairs in his Salt Lake City neighborhood to serve as Senate District 1 Chair, which gives him a seat on the Salt Lake County Republican Party Executive Committee; he is both a county and state delegate. He has previously served as a Region Chair, Legislative Chair and Precinct Chair in the Salt Lake GOP.

Michael is honored to serve the Assembly and the Party with the following executive team:

First Vice Chair – Ana Archuleta
Second Vice Chair – Pedro Cavallero
Treasurer – Juan Manuel Ruiz (President, Latin Chamber of Commerce)
Secretary – Joel Acevedo
Subcommittee Chair- Lee Gardner (Salt Lake County Assessor)
Subcommittee Chair- Erik Contreras (Co-Chair, Utah Latino Legislative Task Force)

The mission of the URHA is to build a membership organization to foster the principles of the Republican Party in the Hispanic community; to provide Hispanic Americans with a forum to fully participate in local, state and national Party activities; to increase the number of Hispanic elected officials; and to create and maintain a network of Hispanic Republican leaders and policy makers.

Un abrazo,

J. Michael Clára
Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly

Leave a Reply