Republican leaders in Hall County have opened their doors to a 43-year-old Latino they hope will help attract area Hispanics to the Grand Old Party.
From standing shoulder to shoulder with the faithful at the recent National Day of Prayer event in downtown Gainesville, and offering a bilingual prayer this week at the start of a Gainesville City Council meeting, Art Gallegos Jr. is quickly making his name known.
Gallegos’ unabashed pro-life convictions, strong family values, firm stand for law and order and unflinching support of President Donald Trump, have endeared him to local Republicans.
“They are just trying to reach out to everybody,” Gallegos said of the GOP. “When they were pursuing me, they said, ‘Hey, you know you can become a member…’ They were just pulling me in, pulling me in. I felt intrigued by it. This is the change (Republicans) need.”
Gallegos is making the most of the GOP’s welcome mat. In March, during the County Convention at party headquarters in Gainesville, he became the first Latino elected to the party’s executive board as assistant treasurer.
To help fan the cause of conservatism among Hispanics in the area, Gallegos and his young Puerto Rican friend, Angel Rosario, joined forces to form LCO — Latinos Conservative Organization.
LCO’s mission, in part, is to “inspire and unify the Hispanic community by becoming more engaged to improve our community,” the duo states on their website, latinosconservative.org. The website includes articles on political, social and cultural issues in Spanish. Gallegos and Rosario encourage feedback.
“With scheduled forums, Latinos can meet with representatives of the city, politicians and different organizations to obtain reliable information … clarify doubts and express their concerns,” they wrote.
The youngest of 12 children, Gallegos is the son of a church pastor, Arturo Gallegos Sr., and his wife, Enriqueta, of Durango, Mexico. The family migrated to San Diego, Calif., in the 1970s. Gallegos moved to Georgia in 1998. His parents still reside in San Diego.
“My father was an attorney in Mexico and got called to the ministry,” Gallegos said. “Now, out of that, there are seven of us in ministry. ... I’ve been raised conservative. I’ve been raised serving others, serving people.”
Gallegos said that when a position opens up on the Gainesville City Council, he intends to run for public office.
“One thing that really sets me aside from a lot of leaders is my willingness to take on challenges, but also the passion that I have for people,” said Gallegos, who is active with Impact Ministries, a faith-based organization focused on the needs of the homeless and impoverished. “I don’t think I would be in ministry if I wouldn’t love people and serve people.”