Ellen Sauerbrey has been involved in Maryland Republican politics for decades, as former minority leader in the House of Delegates and a two-time GOP candidate for governor. During the Bush Administration she was Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration. Sauerbrew speaks with Kojo Nnamdi this week on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum during the Republican National Convention. Here are some highlights:
On why she's still involved in party politics, even though she's no longer a candidate: "Politics is an incurable disease, and I will always be involved. Because I'm very passionate about issues, and I'm terrified that if the election goes in the wrong direction, we are so close to going off a fiscal cliff that the country may not recover," Sauerbrey says.
What Mitt Romney need to do to get votes in Maryland: "This blue state is overtaxed… we are driving businesses to Virginia… We are losing jobs … at a faster rate than almost any other state," Sauerbrey says. "[Romney] offers hope, offers opportunities to get the debt under control, and to get the regulatory burden that is killing businesses under control, and bring back industry to a state that is losing it very rapidly.
How the GOP can appeal to Latino voters: "Latinos are very entrepreneurial. They are hardworking people … What our party believes, what we stand for, the opportunities that we want to create, make Republicans very attractive to Latinos, but we have to work harder to sell that message," she says.
On the perception that the Republican Party is 'anti-immigration' and her advice for Romney on the immigration issue: "We are an immigrant country. We have always welcomed immigrants … But we have also always stood for legal immigration," Sauerbrey says. "My advice to him is 'get that border secure' so that we can then welcome people into this country legally as we always have."