LAURINBURG — There was no missing Christian Cano as he visited with local Democrats on Thursday.
The candidate for 9th District seat in Congress wore a large white Stetson cowboy hat as he spoke to about 30 people at a meeting of the Scotland County Democratic Women.
Cano said the headgear was in reverence to his Latino grandfather, who after he returned to Fort Worth, Texas from fighting in World War II was confronted with many signs on businesses that said “no dogs, no Negros and no Mexicans.”
When his grandfather tried to voice his concerns at City Hall, he was turned away. He later returned wearing a cowboy hat, and was able to speak because no on the city council remembed him under the hat.
Like his grandfather, Cano said he plans to speak out against issues affecting residents in the district that stretches from Charlotte to Fayetteville.
“We need to bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows if we are concerned about security,” he said when asked about of immigration reform.
Cano, who is Hispanic, also believes undocumented immigrants need to work for legal wages. Cano’s plans also include improving education as well as improving the infrastructure.
“We can’t get our products out of North Carolina to other states and Canada, without improving our infrastructure,” the 49-year-old said.
Cano was also critical of his opponent — U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger — a Republican whose main platform concerns fighting organizations like ISIS. Cano believes there is a greater threat from home-grown terrorist and fundamentalist already in the U.S.
“Pittenger has spent around $14 million to travel to meet with world leaders about anti-terrorism measures — he is a congressman and not the Secretary of State — that’s not his job,” said Cano, who is running for Congress for the first time.
Cano also slammed Pittenger’s strategy of criticizing President Barack Obama at every turn.
“I hope before he leaves office and we kick him out, he has one good thing to say about President Obama,” Cano said.
The 68-year-old Rep. Pittenger, has represented the 9th District since 2013.
“I don’t want people to not vote for Pittenger for his age, I want them to not vote for him because he is a horrible congressman,” Cano said.
Cano is a native to Fort Worth, Texas and currently calls Charlotte home. He has been in the business of hotel management for 20 years, including running a hotel in Washington D.C., where he hopes to find himself again after these elections.
“We try to get as many candidates to speak at our meetings as possible,” said Jan Schmidt, the Scotland County Democratic Women president. “It also helps Christian Cano get his face out there.”
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171