By: Mark Fitzgerald
California’s Austrian-born governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is reaching out to fellow immigrants with a monthly column distributed exclusively to the hundreds of ethnic newspapers and media outlets in the state.
“A Personal Message From Gov. Schwarzenegger” is written for and distributed by New California Media (NCM), an association of more than 700 ethnic news organizations founded in 1996 by the Pacific News Service.
The first column, titled “The Power of Your One Vote,” was distributed in mid-October and has been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Spanish, Hungarian, and Arabic, said NCM spokesperson Julie Johnson. Though the association is not tracking its pickup, at least 40 newspapers, radio stations, or ethnic online outlets have run the column, she said.
NCM Executive Director Sandy Close approached Schwarzenegger’s office with the idea because, Johnson said, she thought that, as an immigrant himself, the governor could write a column that would open new channels of communications between state government and California’s many racial and ethnic groups.
“This is a personal message, not a partisan message,” Johnson said. “It’s something that can appeal to newcomers and immigrants.”
In his first column, Schwarzenegger said new American citizens have a special duty to vote. “America is the land of opportunity, and I feel strongly that as immigrants we must give back to the country that has welcomed us with open arms,” he wrote. “That’s why I encourage new citizens to register to vote, and cast a ballot in every election.”