The Washington Times - June 30, 2013, 01:25PM

The Grand Old Party has changed. No really. That was the earnest message from Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who took his claim to the annual National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference, which ended Sunday in Chicago.

Republicans have “reshaped” their outreach, Mr. Priebus told the group, which represents some 6,000 officials. Republicans get community; they get neighborhoods and churches. They get immigration and educational reform plus economic opportunity. “In America, it doesn’t matter where you come from; it matters where you’re going,” Mr. Priebus noted.

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Then there is the 24 million member Latino voting bloc to consider. In the 2012 election, 70 percent voted for President Obama. The Pew Hispanic Center now predicts the numbers will double by 2030, and projects that Latinos “will account for 40 percent of the growth in the eligible electorate in the U.S. between now and 2030.”

That’s one big “hola” to Republicans.

“Republicans know we can’t truly represent America until we’re engaged in every community and every state. The old GOP didn’t do a great job of that. But the new GOP - the Growth and Opportunity Party - is doing things differently,” Mr. Priebus said.

“I know that this is a bipartisan audience. And I didn’t come here to convert you. But I hope that it’s clear that we do want to earn your trust and your vote, and that we can find common ground,” he added.

“I hope that we can work together to guarantee opportunity for all Americans because we’re a party that believes in unlimited opportunity for everyone. Thank you so much. Muchas gracias.”