Being Filipino American in the GOP

Dr. Jose Rizal, a national hero of the Philippines, placed a high value on civic involvement wherever he was, whether it be the Philippines or travelling around the world.  He wanted the Philippines to be more involved in shaping its destiny and wanted the people to have more control of their government – ideals similar to those of the Republican Party.  As we celebrate Filipino American History Month, I reflect on my Filipino heritage and the values I share with the Republican Party and Rizal’s words from the 19th century, which still ring true today.
I was born and raised in northeastern Ohio as the son of two Filipino immigrants who came to America in the 1960s in search of the American dream.  My parents taught me the importance of God, family, hard work, and self-reliance.  Growing up during the Reagan Revolution, I found a home in the Republican Party because I realized that the values my parents taught me were also the bedrock principles of the party. Ever since I attended my first political gathering, this Party has always made me feel welcomed, accepted, and included.  Over my lifetime, I have worked with three different Republican Party County organizations in two different states, but no matter where I go, my friends from the Party are more like my family. The Grand Old Party (GOP) has always encouraged me to be involved in the political process because we share the same common principles. The GOP continues to stand for a strong national defense, lower taxes, religious values, and of course, smaller government.
As the mayor of Brunswick, Ohio, a town of approximately 35,000 people, I am proud of my heritage.  My wife was born and raised in the Philippines.  We raise our two teenage kids with the same values that have been taught to us.   We work hard, go to church, and contribute back to our community.  These values are not only Filipino values or Republican values, but more importantly they are also American values.  Even though we speak Tagalog at home and eat Filipino food, we are Americans first, and we celebrate these core principles that are shared across cultures, across traditions and in my Party.
Recently, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus spoke on the importance of the role that Filipino Americans play in our society as well as the great contributions they have made to our country.  The RNC continues to engage and build meaningful relationships with Filipino communities across the country, and encourage them to get involved in our political process as we continue to build upon the American dream.
I believe that Dr. Rizal’s words and actions of greater civic engagement have a direct impact on how our communities move forward and thrive.  Recently, I addressed the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA Region 3 East) and talked about furthering our community’s political involvement.  At the Knights of Rizal International Conference last year in Greater Cleveland, I spoke about leadership and how it affects our Filipino communities here in America.  There is a need for greater participation of the Filipino American community in the political life of our cities, townships, states, and even our federal government in Washington.  The GOP can help us get there.
As we celebrate Filipino American History Month this October, I ask all of you to be open to the message of the GOP.  As Americans of Filipino descent, we share similar beliefs and values, and we want a better tomorrow for our children.  The GOP is an inclusive party made up of many different kinds of people with diverse backgrounds and is the best vehicle for turning our country in the right direction.  It is my home – and it can be yours too.  I ask all of you to join our Party and help us to restore the American dream.

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Ron Falconi began his term as Mayor of Brunswick in 2014.  Originally, he was appointed to the Council at Large seat in 2008 among a group of 14 applicants.  He successfully defended the seat and won a full term in 2009.
Falconi was born and raised in northeastern Ohio.  He received his diploma from Padua Franciscan High School.  He went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree from John Carroll University, where he majored in political science with a concentration in international studies.  Subsequently, he received his law degree from the University of Akron, and he has a license to practice law in this state.  He was also admitted to practice in the US District Court – Northern District of Ohio, and the US District Court – Western District of Pennsylvania.  In addition to that, he has represented clients in the US Immigration Court and before the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.  He operates his own law practice and does a majority of his work in Cuyahoga and Medina counties. He has been active in the community.  He was a former member of the Brunswick Board of Zoning Appeals, and served on that board from 2004 to 2007. Falconi is also active at St. Ambrose Church, where he is a lector and is also a former bingo team participant.  He served as the government liaison officer for the Fairway’s Homeowners Association.  He also has served as a Guardian ad Litem in both Medina and Cuyahoga Counties. Ron has been married to his wife, Genevive, since 1998, and they have two (2) beautiful children.  They have lived in Brunswick since 2001.  Ron’s interests include history, travel, and singing. 

1 Comment
  1. Jose Rizal lived in the 19th century.
    And while I’m glad you agree he’s a great example for leadership and self-empowerment, I don’t think there’s any grounds in deciding for him whether he’d align with Republicans, Democrats, or any other American party. He was concerned with an oppressive colonial rule of his country, which had never been considered a unified nation of 1,701 islands until the centuries Spanish and US imperialism.
    These years of book burning, language suppression, and all other forms of cultural scrubbing in the name of “growth” and “unifying identity” caused a legitimate trauma. Rizal wanted to establish an authentic Philippine identity, and to forge independence away from colonial rulers who imposed THEIR language, THEIR religion, THEIR culture.
    Certainly he wasn’t very interested in militarization, regulatory agencies, or federalism; as you suggest.
    I agree, “The GOP is an inclusive party made up of many different kinds of people…” but that includes racists, sexists, xenophobes, and homophobes, even in your highest ranks. How would Rizal feel about “English as the National Language”, when he fought Spanish being imposed in the Philippines? Or about deportations and strict immigration laws when he himself was an international man who had been born and then died in the historically metropolitan Philippines? What would Rizal say to the dominant segment of the GOP who wants to use religious belief to dictate US laws when one of his greatest aims was to push against a corrupt Church that essentially ran barangay and national governments?
    I am not here to say Jose Rizal is or isn’t a Republican or Democrat. I’m not here to say it’s impossible you’ve had a very positive experience as a life-long GOP voter. But to ignore so much of who Rizal was, and to ignore the unsavory parts of the Republican party as you suggest readers join, is false advertising.

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