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Issue Date: June 2009

Rating the Suburbs - Lorain

Richard Romero,50
state commissioner for the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs
I always thoughtI’d work at a factory like my dad. He came over here from Puerto Rico to get a job at the steel mill. Those were good-paying jobs. But he said to me, “An education is something they can’t take away from you. You don’t know if the steel mill and the Ford plant will be around forever.  An education lasts forever.”

I’ve gottwo daughters I’m really proud of — one’s getting her Ph.D. at Stanford, and the other is at Emory —and they always used to ask, “Dad, why Lorain?” People undersell Lorain.

Other communities might be wealthier, but what we have that up-and-coming cities don’t is history, tradition and a sense of community. The city always surprises me by how it comes together when things get tough. We were one of the first to pass a levy to get all of these new schools.
Lorain has got to do a better job of marketing itself.

Lorain has always been ahead of the curve on everything. Because we have such a diverse community, we’ve learned to translate that into an asset. By 2030, one in every four people in the United States will be Hispanic.

Both Democratic
candidates running for president gave me a call. I still have the message from Hillary. [He takes out his cell phone and plays it.] “It would obviously mean the world to me to have you work on my campaign,” Clinton says.

When I hit 50
, I started to think about where am I going and what am I leaving behind.

You have
to come to our International Festival [June 22-28].  When else can you literally go to one event and experience over 60 nationalities?

The real jewel
of Lorain is the Palace Theatre. You walk in and look up and see the detail of the craftsmanship.

We have
one of the best parks not only in the state of Ohio, but probably in the country — Lakeview Park. My wife and I like to walk along the beach in the morning or at sunset. We bought a house right across the street from the park. It survived the tornado of 1924. We always admired it growing up.

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