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LA Times

A Latino by Any Other Name?

By Patt Morrison

January 28, 2002
Copyright © 2002
LA Times. All Rights Reserved.

What's in a nombre, hombre?

Republican Kenneth M. Fisher is one of two GOP candidates challenging Rep. Loretta Sanchez, the Garden Grove Democrat.

But you'll have to look for him on the ballot by a name he didn't use the other times he's run for office: Kenneth M. Valenzuela Fisher.

Could it be that Fisher, a former member of the county's Republican Central Committee, has become mindful of the Latino voting numbers in the district . . . and of the fact that his challenger is named Joe Chavez of Santa Ana?

Fisher ran for the Anaheim Union High School District in 1992 using his full middle name, Kenneth Manuel Fisher. He lost. This time, Manuel is demoted to M. and he's using his mother's maiden name, Valenzuela. Anaheim is a town founded by Germans and now densely populated by Latinos; Fisher says he is German and Latino.

The Democratic incumbent, Loretta Sanchez, was savaged in the 1996 election, accused of pandering to Latinos by using not her husband's surname, Brixey, but her own, Sanchez.

Of Fisher's challenge, she says, with tongue fixed somewhere between upper and lower molars, "I think it's wonderful that more Hispanics are getting involved in politics."

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